Cambodia jails Japanese man for sexually abusing girl

PHNOM PENH - A Japanese man was jailed for a year by a Cambodian court on Wednesday for sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl in the northwest tourist town of Siem Reap, officials said.

Shuji Yamagishi, 41, who described himself as a cultural researcher during his trial, was also given a one year suspended term and ordered to pay the victim five million riel (US$1,250) compensation.

He was arrested at his rented accommodation on May 16 and was initially accused of raping the girl, who lived in the same building, but the presiding judge at Siem Reap provincial court downgraded the charge.

"The court found there was not enough evidence to support the sexual intercourse charge so the charge was changed to indecent assault," said prosecutor Uy Samphea, adding that he would not appeal against the verdict.

The girl's lawyer Hong Sambath, who works for child rights group Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE), said the sentence was "too lenient".

"Our biggest disappointment is that the court did not order him to be deported (after serving his sentence)," he told AFP.

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

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