According to media sources in Phnom Penh, Cambodian police arrested an Australian man on suspicion of paying for sex with underage girls over a number of years.
The suspect, identified by police as Michael John Lines, 52, was arrested yesterday. Police allege he has been having sex with two girls, now 17.
Major General Bith Kimhong, director of the Interior Ministry’s Anti-trafficking Unit, today said one of the alleged victims was now the man’s fiance.
Bith Kimhong added that police suspected he had abused many children and that he had “been committing the offenses for four years.”
He said the man would appear at Phnom Penh Municipal Court later today to be charged with “buying sex from children.”
Dozens of foreigners have been jailed for child sex crimes or deported to face trial in their home countries since Cambodia launched an anti-pedophilia push in 2003 to try to shake off its reputation as a haven for sex predators.
Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has confirmed the arrest.
“The Australian Embassy in Phnom Penh is aware of the arrest of a 52-year-old Queensland man on suspicion of child sex offenses,” a DFAT spokesperson said.
“The Australian Embassy is providing the man with consular assistance.”