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Western Tourists Charged With ‘Singing And Dancing Pornographically’ Could Get A Year In Cambodian Prison

By Eric Shorey

Cambodian morality police have arrested ten Westerners at a pool party near the Angor Wat temple complex after deciding they had violated the country's policies on behavior near sacred sites. Those arrested could face up to a full year in prison.

The Chicago Tribune notes that the bust appears to be part of a crackdown on tourist behavior in the area. Those arrested claim they were "blindsided" by the police and were shocked at their potential punishment.

The raid occurred at a popular pool party called Let's Get Wet in Siem Reap. Around 100 people (mostly Western ex-pats and tourists) were in attendance when the police showed up at around 4pm. Many taken into custody claim they did not fully understand what was happening as officials rounded up the party-goers.

"We're innocent ... We don't know why we've been arrested — we're getting different stories from different people," said one of the many detained that day.

Police have released photos from the "pornographic" party, although the authenticity of the images has not been confirmed. In the pictures, people can be seen engaging in simulated sexual acts. No details were given about who took the photos or how they were obtained.

Around 87 people were detained, including party organizers. Most were taken to "the commission of education" before being released. Of the ten still being detained: six are British, two are Canadian, one is from New Zealand, and one man's nationality was not released.

"Any people producing pornography is contrary to Cambodia's traditions," said Samrith Sokhon, the prosecutor of the Siem Reap provincial court, who noted that images of the party were shared to social media, violating the country's policies on producing pornography and human trafficking.

"It's dreadful," said Marci Harbour, the mother of Billy Stevens, who was arrested in the raid. "I've managed to speak to him, but he's had his phone taken off him now. They're all in custody ... There's a lot of us parents on it, and I'm in touch with them, but it's difficult. I've been told the more I say the deeper the problem could get, and I'm not prepared to speak about it now."

[Photo: Cambodia National Police]

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