Out of jail but not scot-free

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PHNOM PENH, 21 March 2018: A British expatriate convicted of using “pornographic” photos to promote a pool party in Cambodia was given a one-year suspended prison sentence on Tuesday.

Daniel Jones, 31, was among 10 foreigners arrested in January after police raided a private villa in Siem Reap, a tourist town near the famed Angkor Wat temple ruins.

During his trial in Siem Reap Jones insisted there was no sex or nudity at the party, which he promoted on Facebook with the tagline “Let’s Get Wet”, and apologised for causing offence.

Daniel Jones is escorted by a prison guard at the court in Siem Reap. Credit: AFP.

But prosecutors successfully argued that any images, which encourage sexual activity are illegal and against Cambodian culture.

The court found him in breach of decency laws and handed him the maximum one-year sentence.

But since he had already served a month and 22 days on remand “the rest will be suspended”, the judgement said, according to court spokesman Yin Srang.

It was not clear if Jones would be released immediately. His lawyer Ouch Sopheaktra said he would see if his client wanted to appeal the verdict.

Cambodia is popular with foreign backpackers and many are drawn to the wild nightlife.

But the Buddhist country is often strict when protecting local traditions or heritage, especially around the Angkor complex.

During the trial a police witness said officers raided the pool party to prevent sexual acts, adding that they had found condoms at the villa.

Jones told the court he had organised four parties for tourists before his arrest, charging attendees USD 5 for transport and offering a free drink and T-shirt.

Authorities have already banned skimpy clothing inside the Angkor Wat complex and deported foreigners for taking saucy photos among the temple ruins, which are considered sacred.

But those violations occurred inside the ancient city and not in the adjoining town of Siem Reap, a party destination crammed with bars catering to foreigners.

© Agence France-Presse

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