Two men on a motorbike who attempted to steal a Canadian tourist’s smartphone got more than they bargained for Monday in Phnom Penh after they were chased down by people near the scene of the crime, beaten and arrested by police.
A 35-year-old convicted British pedophile was arrested Sunday at his Phnom Penh guesthouse, where anti-trafficking police found him with an 8-year-old boy, police said Monday.
Richard Fruin—who fled to Cambodia after serving a year in prison in the U.K. for the production of child pornography—was arrested at the Boeung Meas Guesthouse in Daun Penh district at about 8 p.m. on Sunday, said Lieutenant Colonel Lao Lin, chief of the Ministry of Interior’s anti-human trafficking department.
“We arrested him for sleeping with an 8-year-old at his guesthouse,” Mr. Lin said Monday.
“We are still investigating to determine whether or not he had sex [with the boy],” he said, adding that Fruin was being detained at the Interior Ministry and would be sent to the municipal court when police concluded their inquiry.
Pen Chantha, owner of the Boeung Meas Guesthouse, said Fruin had been staying at the hotel in Srah Chak commune for about a month.
“I was shocked when the police came to arrest him…. I never saw anything strange while he was staying at my guesthouse,” Ms. Chantha said.
According to anti-pedophile NGO Action pour les Enfants (APLE), which began investigating Fruin last month, the child abuser had been working as an English teacher in Phnom Penh.
In 2005, Fruin was charged with 15 counts of producing child pornography by the Gloucester Crown Court in the U.K., but was released on bail and fled the country for seven years, according to APLE, traveling to Africa and Southeast Asia before returning to the U.K., where he was rearrested in 2012 and sentenced to one year in prison. After serving his sentence, he immediately flew to Cambodia.
“He had a history of abuse and the police also found many more possible [Cambodian] victims,” said Khoem Vando, deputy director of project management at APLE.
The mother of the 8-year-old boy found with Fruin on Sunday night said Monday that following the pedophile’s arrest, all three of her sons—including two aged 10 and 11—told police that they had been abused by the British national.
“If police had not taken any action last night, I don’t know what he would have done to my son,” said the woman, adding that Fruin had been visiting her roadside shop in Phnom Penh for about a month, and had previously taken her two older sons to his guesthouse.
“I had no idea that he intended to hurt my children,” she said.
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