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Guesthouse manager accused of arson

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times Share:
Mr Simms attempted to flee the scene. Post News

Siem Reap Provincial Court on Sunday charged an Australian-Irish man for using drugs and setting fire to a guesthouse room, destroying it and his belongings.

Damon Simms, 39, general manager of the Gabbi Guest House in Ta Phul village, was charged by the provincial court prosecutor with drug use and intentionally causing damage. He faces from six months to two years in prison if convicted.

Provincial police deputy police chief Colonel Chea Kimsan said Mr Simms was arrested on Friday by provincial penal police in Svay Dangkum commune.

He was detained after he tried to burn the guesthouse, gutting one room. He has been sent to prison pending his trial.

Siem Reap city police officer Captain Yeng Vannak said that at about 8pm on Friday, the accused, who stayed at the first floor of the guesthouse, argued with his 29-year-old Filipino wife.

The accused smoked drugs in his room almost every night. His wife was angry over his drug use, he said.

She left that night and went to stay with friends in the province, planning to return to live with her parents in the Philippines.

“According to the police investigation, the accused overused drugs. He lost his mind and was angry at his wife for leaving him,” Cap Vannak said.

“He then set fire to his guesthouse room. The fire burned his room and all his belongings,” he said.

Neighbours and local police fought the fire and limited the damage to the one room.

Mr Simms tried to flee, but he was arrested by local police at about 8.30pm.

A urine test conducted showed he was positive for drug use.

Cap Vannak said Mr Simms leased the guesthouse from a Cambodian to operate as his own businesses.

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