Cambodia jails Briton for child sex

10th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

A Cambodian court on Thursday jailed a British computer engineer for seven years after paying to have sex with two underage girls.

Matthew Harland, 38, was arrested in the capital Phnom Penh last May for buying sex from an 11-year-old and a 12-year-old in 2006.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court also ordered Harland to pay each of the victims one million riel ($250) in compensation.

"The verdict offers justice to the victims," said Peng Maneth, a lawyer for the girls.

"But it is regrettable that the court did not order him to be deported after serving the sentence. He is still young and has job opportunities in Cambodia and he could cause more harm to other children."

A British police report said Harland jumped bail from Britain in 2005 after being arrested on child pornography charges, according to Cambodian police.

Cambodia launched an anti-paedophilia push in 2003 to try to shake off its reputation as a sex predators' haven. Dozens of foreigners have since been jailed for child sex crimes or deported to face trial in their home countries.

© 2011 AFP

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