Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday, July 28, 2014

The SUN newspaper in London today is headlining the arrest of an alleged British child sex offender in Cambodia.  Michael Jones, 55, was arrested by Cambodian police after being put under surveillance by APLE – the Cambodian non government organization ‘Action Pour Les Enfants’.

Yi Moden, Deputy Director of Field Operations at APLE said:“APLE started paying attention on M.G.J. after a tip-off by an informant early in 2013 when he was suspiciously interacting with small girls. Then, he left the country. In June this year, he returned and was actively associating with underage girls in Phnom Penh. According to police, M.G.J. had abused the girls on different occasions.

 “We’re delighted to see the arrest and complement police’s swift action to stop him from further abusing. This man is dangerous for children. APLE continues to help police identify more victims in the places and countries he passed by.”

The arrest actually took place in June but details of the offender were not released until today.

The SUN report:

Brit paedo suspect Michael Jones is caught with kids in Cambodia
SUSPECTED British paedophile Michael Jones is caught on film walking hand-in-hand with an 11-year-old girl in Cambodia. 
Other pictures show Jones, 55, with a small child sitting on his lap and chatting to half-dressed girls aged eight and nine. 
The photos, taken by a child protection charity, led to Jones’s arrest for a string of alleged sex attacks on street girls in Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh. 
The two topless girls have now made allegations to police about being molested in a secluded spot close to where they were photographed. 
Jones, from South Wales, is accused of luring the girls into his clutches using fizzy drink and tubs of sweets.

The 11-year-old claims she was taken to a rented room by a man on three occasions where he paid her £3 for sex. 
She said her attacker bought her food and drink, took her to the cinema and paid for her to play video games. 
Jones was arrested by a Cambodian police protection unit days after the photos were taken. He has appeared before a court charged with carrying out indecent acts against minors and paying for child prostitution. He faces up to eight years in jail if found guilty.

Jones is being held in Phnom Penh’s Prey Sar jail, living on a basic ration of rice and vegetable soup and sharing a cell with up to 20 others. He was arrested after an investigation by the charity APLE (Action Pour Les Enfants). 
Deputy director Khoem Vando said: “The two girls said they had been sexually touched.
“Police interviewed a third girl who said that a man had sexually abused her a number of times.”
APLE targeted Jones after reports he was seen behaving suspiciously with two under-age girls along a river bank. 
Police in Britain can find no record of Jones offending here.

In other news from APLE earlier this month the Cambodian Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Briton Mathew John Harland who was sentenced in 2011 by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to seven years imprisonment and to the payment of two million riel compensation for soliciting child prostitution. The verdict was also upheld by the Appeal Court, in 2012.

Harland was arrested in May 2010, in a joint operation by APLE and the Phnom Penh Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Unit, after two girls aged 11 and 12 years told APLE and police that Harland had paid them to have sex with him on multiple occasions. He’s been in prison ever since.

At the hearing, which took place two weeks ago, Harland claimed innocence and requested the court to drop his charges.

Seila Samleang, Country Director of APLE, stated:

“The Supreme Court’s decision brought not only justice to the victims, but also closure to the case. We applaud the highest court’s judgment; however, since no deportation order was given in this case, the offender can return to the streets of Cambodia after completion of the sentence and make more victims. This is grave.  This is grave. APLE is again calling for mandatory deportation to be given in all foreigner-perpetrated child sexual abuse cases ”

Harland's case was the subject of a story on this site.  His prosecution was unusual.


COMMENT: I am not referring to this case but there is something disquieting going on in the region in relation to child sex offenders. At the moment I am dealing with a case of an American citizen working as a professional in a large international company, subcontracting to the Thai government who was arrested two months ago for alleged child abuse against two young Cambodians in Pattaya. The police will not even give a specific month (Nov 2013 to June 2014) when these alleged incidents took place. But they took place at a house  which he leased and was used as a private business he owned, a fruit cocktail machine sales outlet, by which was operated by a friend. The two Cambodian boys from a children's home have been used in a number of prosecutions against foreigners. The American says he never stays at this house and only visits the business. When he travels to Pattaya he stays with his girlfriend and their young son. He lives in Bangkok. Coincidentally an American paedophile did rent an upstairs room and was arrested by Thai police and escorted back to Hawaii by US Marshals last December.  Both men had beards.

The following letter is presented without comment:

30th July 2014.

Letter from Matthew Harland

Dear Andrew,
Thank you for taking an interest in my situation and for your professional approach to investigating and reporting the previous irregularities in my case.

Following my recent, and unsuccessful, appeal to the Cambodian Supreme Court, I am writing to set the record straight and highlight the hazards one experiences when facing a pay-as-you-go justice system.

As you previously reported, a British Embassy representative at my First Court "hearing" stated that the trial was unfair as the presiding judge would not allow the accused to present his evidence, nor would he allow my interpreter to translate proceedings1 .

It was at the First Court that I was forced to raise allegations that the same court had requested payment of $15,000 in return for a "fair trial"; allegations which I had already raised to the Cambodian Anti Corruption Unit and the FCO in the UK. Hardly the behaviour of a guilty man.

My request to have a new panel of judges assigned to my case was ignored, the ACU has never responded2

It was following the First Court hearings that the British Embassy in Cambodia changed its policy on attending trials in Cambodia, despite evidence presented by Mark Simmonds MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, to the recent Consular Services Inquiry that "we attend the early stages of every trial of a British national abroad." 3

More seriously, each court failed to present a single witness. What ever your point of view, the court failed to allow the alleged victims of child prostitution (now adults), to explain how they were affected by the alleged crimes and to seek justice.

For me, the courts failure to produce a single plaintiff denied me of my fundamental human right, to face my accusers and to ask them to explain how I could have committed two totally different versions of the same crime, as "John", the year before I arrived in Cambodia.

It is for the reasons above, that I maintain that I have never received a trial by definition4 and that I have now been illegally detained for the past four years.

It is not the courts alone that have enabled this miscarriage of justice, the NGO Action pour Les Enfants (APLE) have also played a significant part in corrupting the justice system.

APLE presented the initial complaints, in 2010, to their close partners at the Cambodian Anti Human Trafficking police. The allegations, from 2005, came from girls in the residential care (or custody) of the same NGO, APLE.

Those who are familiar with Asian culture would agree that children here will generally do what a parent/guardian tells them. In this case, two girls made conflicting allegations to police in the presence of the NGO APLE. The potential for police or NGO coercion is clear.

The guilty verdict from the First Court came without evidence and without a single witness.

It is natural to look to your own country for basic support at a time like this, but what you do not expect is persecution or mistreatment from British authorities.

Jim Gamble filming with America's most wanted

In October 2010, the former CEO of the UK Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), Jim Gamble, came inside Prey Sar prison under the guise of a NGO filming prison conditions.

The police officer did not identify himself or explain my right to silence or a lawyer. He continued to illegally mistreat detainees. The result was a tabloid CNN show, broadcast six days before my "hearing".

Jim Gamble perverted the course of justice in Cambodia and tortured5 detainees at a time when CEOP was facing budget cuts and a merger with the new National Crime Agency.

The actions of the British police officer are "outside the jurisdiction" of the British Independent Police Complaints Commission. The British Metropolitan Police have refused to accept complaints of Conspiracy to pervert the course of justice (committed in London).

Two years later I was allowed a 46 minute "hearing", including translation, at the Appeal Court. Again, there were no witnesses and no plaintiffs.

The NGO APLE's lawyer explained that the plaintiffs were both "sick" and therefore unable to explain the unresolved questions regarding the conflicting police statements. The court would not grant my request for a delay, until a time when the plaintiffs were well enough to attend court.
My belief, is that the plaintiffs, who are now adults, were not willing to testify in court, to support NGO lies. Most would agree that a true victim of such a vile crime, would seek a day in court - especially as an adult.

Once again, justice was denied - for both parties, and the judge left the court in his Audi Q8.

My Supreme Court hearing was held in July 2014, more than four years after my arrest.
Once again, I was offered the opportunity to "prove my innocence", in five minutes or less, in a "hearing" that lasted barely an hour.

This time I presented the absence of any witnesses from the plaintiffs point of view - that is, the police statements (when taken together) are simply impossible and and that the plaintiffs should be allowed the opportunity to present their evidence and clarify the conflicts - and the changes.

Once again, the APLE lawyer explained that one plaintiff was again "sick" and the other has now gone missing.

My response to the court was that this is not the plaintiffs case, the lies have actually been presented by the NGO APLE. It appears that the named plaintiffs are unwilling (as adults) to support these impossible allegations to any court.

The complete story, as you know, is much more in depth, however, what I would like to highlight to your readers in Cambodia and especially abroad is that there is no justice here for alleged victims or the accused. There is only justice for corrupt NGOs, police and judges.

What is most unjust about this situation is that you not only lose the support of many friends and colleagues, but your reputation is destroyed beyond repair.

As I was, most are afraid of any association, with anyone connected with allegations of child abuse and conform to the popular theory that justice has been served and the guilty party is safely incarcerated.

However, the true criminals are still at large, they are funded by British tax payers and foreign donors. They continue to traffic people - children into unnecessary care and adults into prisons - but its nothing personal, its just business.

I have already written to the British embassy, to reject this unsafe conviction and to seek support in raising my case with the Cambodian Justice Ministry - but as always, they have not replied.


Matthew Harland.

1 Supported by embassy documents, obtained through Freedom of Information Act
2 As detailed in the Cambodian Code of Criminal Procedure
3 Source : Consular Services Inquiry
4 Right to a fair trial, UN International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, "the right to cross examination"
5 "torture" as defined by UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. 


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