Belgian’s Medical Credentials Being Investigated
By and | September 23, 2000

Cambodian authorities are investigating claims that Belgian national Rudy Demasure, who has recently become one of the targets of a push against suspected foreign sex offenders, fabricated medical credentials, allowing him to pose as a doctor working with Cambodian school children.

Neau Sarik, principle at the Koy Tep school in Kandal province, said recently that Demasure was part of a group of five medical officials working under the Cambod­ian Rehabilitation and Develop­ment Program to conduct medical checkups on school students late last year.

But Minister of Women’s Affairs Mu Sochua confirmed this week that a letter has been received from the Belgian Em­b­assy in Bangkok stating that Dema­sure, contrary to his claims, is not a qualified doctor.

“I will ask the Ministry of Justice to investigate if there is a law against falsification of credentials,” Mu Sochua said following the opening Monday of a new counter-trafficking bureau at the Women’s Affairs Ministry.

“We will try to do all we can to make sure [Demasure] will be prosecuted for this,” Mu Sochua.

An official at the Belgian Em­bassy in Bangkok said earlier this year that checks were being conducted in Belgium to establish if Demasure was a medical doctor.

According to the official, a file on Demasure at the embassy showed no record of him being a medical practitioner.

“As far as I can find out…there is no trace of him being a doctor,” the official said.

But Gloria Christian, a qualified nurse and assistant secretary-general of Demasure’s CRDP, said earlier this year that Demasure’s medical credentials were indisputable and the Belgian was part of the Koy Tep school medical team that conducted basic medical examinations on the 1000-plus student population.

The organization has to date assisted the Koy Tep school with around $20,000 worth of assistance provided by the Belgian government, Christian confirmed.

The organization run by Dema­sure has repainted classrooms and repaired doors, windows and tables at the school, Neau Sarik said.

Belgian medical doctor Piet De May, also a member of the CRDP, has refused to comment on the claims against Demasure, calling reporting on the case a witch hunt.

The anticipated investigation comes at a time when the government is proposing the creation of a blacklist for suspected foreign sex offenders, including Dema­sure, who Mu Sochua warned will be prevented from acquiring visas to enter or stay in Cam­bodia.

Demasure was specifically targeted in a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen from Mu Sochua, who said the recent dropping of a child rape charge against the Belgian was a classic case of impunity by foreign sex offenders in Cam­bodia.

Charges that Demasure raped his 14-year-old Vietnamese house maid were dropped June 22 by Municipal Court Investigating Judge Mong Mony Chakriya, who said the victim and her parents had retracted their accusations. The decision was later appealed but has yet to be heard in court.

The rape charge was the second dropped against Demasure, who was questioned by police in 1999 for allegedly raping another maid, but released after paying the family, according to Ream Sarim, deputy chief of Municipal Minor Crime Police.




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Groups of garment workers poured out of factories in Phnom Penh and around the country Wednesday to demand a “living” monthly minimum wage of $177 for the industry, joined by supporters picketing outside embassies and brand shops in Australia and Europe.

Four months after a Newsweek article reported that Somaly Mam falsified her backstory as a sex slave, prompting her exit from the NGO named after her, the anti-trafficking activist publicly defended herself for the first time Wednesday in an article published on the same day that a public relations offensive was launched on her behalf.

Ahead of his trial at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court today, Cambodian-American dissident Sourn Serey Ratha this week again denied the sedition charges against him and urged the government to release his supporters now in detention.

Two union representatives were arrested and detained for several hours in Prey Veng province Wednesday as a nearly weeklong strike for better working conditions and bonuses continued at the Chinese-owned Komchay Mear Trading factory, police and unionists said.

More than 5,000 employees of the Juhui Footwear Factory in Kompong Cham province who were fired on Tuesday after joining strikes to demand bonus pay and better benefits Wednesday rejected their severance packages and vowed to continue protesting.

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