A Japanese man was sentenced to one year in jail by a Cambodian court this week after he was found guilty of sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl in the country. The crime took place in the city of Siem Reap and involved 41 year old Shuji Yamagishi, who described himself in court as a cultural researcher. In addition to his prison term, Yamagishi was ordered to pay the victim 5 million riel (approx. ¥103,000/$1,250) in damages.
The Japanese national was visiting the tourist town in the spring of this year, and was subsequently arrested on May 16th. He was originally accused of raping the girl, who lived in the same building as the quarters he rented, but the judge at the Siem Reap provincial court reduced the charge. Public prosecutor Uy Samphea explained that there wasn’t enough evidence to prove sexual intercourse took place, so the charges were downgraded to assault.
The victim’s lawyer was Hong Sambath, who works for Action Pour Les Enfants, a local children’s rights group. He said that Yamagishi’s sentence was far too lenient, and that it was disappointing that he wasn’t ordered to be deported after serving his prison sentence. Cambodia has long been seen as a haven for sexual predators, but the country is now change that reputation. The country launching a new campaign targeting pedophilia in 2003, resulting in a number of foreigners being imprisoned or deported for trial in their home countries for sex crimes against children.
[via The Standard]