Sep 25, 2009
(CAAI News Media)
Phnom Penh - A French national has been charged with committing indecent acts with a minor less than a week after arriving in Cambodia, local media reported Friday.
Jean-Marie Beranger, 61, was arrested after a local child rights organization told police he had been soliciting boys in the coastal resort town of Sihanoukville in southern Cambodia.
The chief prosecutor at the provincial court told the Phnom Penh Post newspaper that Beranger's case has been forwarded to an investigating judge.
The judge, Kim Eng, told the newspaper that Beranger faces one to five years in jail if convicted.
'But the accused has denied any wrongdoing,' Kim Eng said.
Samleang Seila, the head of the child rights organization APLE, said his staff tipped off police after seeing the Frenchman having sex with a 13-year-old boy in public Tuesday evening, adding that Beranger had been seen soliciting several boys during his stay in Sihanoukville.
Samleang Seila said 13 foreigners convicted on child sex charges in Cambodia have been deported, most recently a twice-convicted Belgian man who was expelled last week.
Cambodia is trying to shed its reputation as a destination for child sex tourists and has prosecuted a number of foreigners for underage sex offences in recent years.