A man convicted in Belgium of making child pornography, including some with his adopted Cambodian children, is missing after being sentenced to 19 years in prison this week, according to anti-pedophile NGO Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE) and a Belgian news outlet.
Pieter Ceulen, 60, was convicted in Antwerp this week based on the results of a Belgian-led investigation that APLE assisted with, and went missing while on bail, APLE director Samleang Seila said on Friday.
“He spent some of his time in Siem Reap where he also adopted a number of Cambodian children to live with him,” Mr. Seila said. “Then eventually he abused [and] he involved those children in the production of child pornography.”
Mr. Seila said authorities believed Mr. Ceulen had fled with the intention of returning to Cambodia.
A friend of the convicted pedophile who owns a bed and breakfast in Siem Reap City said she was shocked to hear of the charges against Mr. Ceulen, adding that she had dinner with him in the city “three weeks or a month ago.”
“Pieter Ceulen has been a friend of mine since 2006. He would often invite me and my husband to have dinner with him whenever he came to Cambodia,” she said.
Belgian news outlet Het Laatste Nieuws reported that Mr. Ceulen was not present for his trial, and was seen at Brussels Airport last week.
The article said he had both collected and created child pornography—with his own children and others—and shared the files with others.
Siem Reap provincial police, Phnom Penh police and Interpol officials said they were not aware of Mr. Ceulen being in the country. Calls made to the Belgian consulate in Phnom Penh went unanswered.
Correction: A previous headline for this article incorrectly identified Dutch national Pieter Ceulen as Belgian.
© 2016, The Cambodia Daily. All rights reserved No part of this article may be reproduced in print, electronically, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without written permission.