Man charged with child sex offenses in Cambodia
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Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 10:04 am on


I have further information - WARNING: it's pretty ugly.

The two children in question have been taken out of circulation, unavailable to talk with their friends as well as myself. By whom and why I'll come on to presently.

I'll simply relate what I was told yesterday by other older, savvy kids who have been selling books on the Riverside for years - kids whom on this issue I trust and believe they are telling me what they perceive to be the truth. I'll leave you to interpret in your own ways.

They tell me the guy came to Phnom Penh last year. He treated a few of the kids, bought them food, bought their books and was generally kind to them. He particularly wanted to help those two sisters and arranged with the mother to send money over after he left. Thus for the past year he had sent money for their education. He thus felt that he had a trusting relationship with the family, which is why he was met off the plane by them and why he took them all to a hotel.

I don't have access to the primary witnesses to find out what happened - if anything - in the hotel, but as far as I know those girls didn't relate any tales of abuse to their friends. He may have been naive and foolish, but none of them have implied to me that they suspect him to have committed any illegal or immoral act.

NGO spy on the riverside.
He does not look much like a tourist does he?

Here's where I learned of what sounds like a very sinister development. I was completely unaware of this but according to the book-sellers, the streets are crawling with spies - employees of NGOs who officially claim to be child protection agencies, generously funded by Western benefactors. These people follow the children and take photographs of any men talking to them. Now on the surface that sounds reasonable behaviour if the organizations really are out to protect the children. So why do all the children feel creeped out by these people? Why do the children regard them with the same mind as they regard the police? They never talk to the kids or their families - why?

Okay, here is some personal interpretation: they are paid by Western (usually Church) organisations whipped up by Western media with no experience of life in this part of the world; their funds are renewed according to results - i.e. convictions. They have a vested interest in nailing this guy. Hence they are "preparing" the two sisters and their mother to testify against him. The children who talk to me don"t know the political subtleties; they simplify the matter to - the police want money, the NGOs want money.

If these kids are right, it is dangerously naive to simplistically trust the authorities to 'do an investigation'. It appears that justice is not the highest factor on their agenda. Personally, I hope to god the kids are wrong; I don't want the NGOs to be what some of you cynics paint them to be, but my instincts tell me the kids are perceptive.


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