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Two French men held on underage sex charges in Cambodia (Roundup)

Written By vibykhmer on Saturday, August 22, 2009 | 7:58 PM

Police arresting the Frenchman, inset: the 16 year-old girl, right: the owner of the guesthouse.

Monsters and Critics
Asia-Pacific News
Aug 22, 2009

Phnom Penh - Two French nationals were questioned at a Phnom Penh court on Saturday on charges of soliciting sex from a minor and producing child pornography. Both crimes carry the possibility of lengthy jail sentences.

The head of the municipal police's anti-trafficking department, Keo Thea, said both men would be charged by the court on Sunday.

'They were questioned today on the first charge of having sex with a 16-year-old girl and on the second charge of making child pornography,' Keo Thea said.

The men, named by the Cambodia Daily newspaper as 62-year-old Michel Jean Raymond Charlot and 60-year-old Claude Jean-Pierre Demeret, were arrested after Charlot solicited a 16-year-old at a well-known red-light district in Phnom Penh and brought her back to his guesthouse.

The girl then told the police about Demeret.

Police searched the room at the guesthouse where Demeret was staying and found a collection of sexually explicit videos and photographs of him, most of which the police said were taken in Thailand.

A search of Charlot's room uncovered a collection of similar photographs and videos.

Keo Thea earlier told national media that their arrests were a significant success for the police.

'[Demeret] confessed that he had actually taken a lot more pictures in Thailand than in Cambodia,' Keo Thea told the Cambodia Daily, adding that police believed the images were made for commercial purposes rather than, as the men had claimed, their own entertainment.

Police said evidence against the men included children's underwear and toys, as well as dozens of videos of the suspects and numerous sexually explicit photographs of the men with what police believe are children in Thailand.

Cambodia has long been seen as an easy place for foreigners to procure sex with minors, which under Cambodian law that combats sexual exploitation is anyone under the age of 18. In recent years the authorities have cracked down on the problem.


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