PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — A Cambodian court has found a 63-year-old Korean man guilty of child sex offenses and sentenced him to 14 years in prison.
A spokesman for the Siem Reap provincial court said Park Youl was found guilty on Thursday of child prostitution and sexual intercourse with girls under 15 years of age.
Cambodian newspapers, citing anti-human trafficking police, said at the time of Park’s arrest last October that he was a pastor of a Christian church in Siem Reap in northwestern Cambodia.
The court spokesman, Yim Srang, said Park was also ordered to pay a total of $70,000 in compensation to seven of the nine known victims, and would be deported after serving his prison term. Two other victims did not request compensation.
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Cambodia has a reputation as a haven for foreign pedophiles largely because of lax and corrupt law enforcement.
Action Pour Les Enfants, a Cambodian group that combats child sex abuse and exploitation, said the victims ranged in age from 12 to 17. It said an investigation that took almost two years was initiated after it received a tipoff about Park.
“We congratulate and commend Cambodian authorities on the result of this case,” the group said in a statement. “The conviction in itself means more than justice for the affected girls. It also provides a long-term deterrent effect in preventing future crimes.”