News, Culture & Society

Brits in Cambodian jail after they ‘failed to pay bribe’

Five Britons held in Cambodia over images of a Twister-style ‘sex position game’ said they were thrown in jail after failing to bribe crooked police officers.  

Paul Harris, Vincent Harley Robert Hook, 35, Daniel Richard Leeming Jones, 30, Thomas Alexander Jeffries, 22, and Billy Stevens, 21, face a year in prison for ‘production’ of pornography.

Pictures showed the men with shaved heads and forced to wear orange Guantanamo Bay-style jumpsuits after being taken into custody.

They were among a group of ten foreigners arrested in a raid on the ‘Let’s Get Wet’ event at a rented villa in the holiday hotspot Siem Reap province, home to the ancient Angkor Wat ruins. 

A source close to the group said their arrest was ‘payback’ for not paying police a cut of the party proceeds in a £140 bribe.

Five Britons held in Cambodia over images of a Twister-style ‘sex position game’ have been provisionally charged with making porn, it has emerged. Pictures show how the men have had their heads shaved and have been forced to wear orange Guantanamo Bay style jumpsuits while they are held on remand at a prison in Siem Reap

Members of the arrested group are paraded in front of the media with shaved heads

Members of the arrested group are paraded in front of the media with shaved heads

Police released these pictures which they claim show the tourists. However, Guy Harris, the father of one of the men arrested, claims these are five years old

Police released these pictures of the tourists

Police released these pictures which they claim show the tourists. However, Guy Harris, the father of one of the men arrested, claims these are five years old

Police posted a picture of the ten defendants lined up outside court, dressed in casual summer clothing. The photo is understood to include Britons Billy Stevens (left), Paul Harris (fourth from left), Daniel Jones (centre in white T-shirt) and Vincent Hook (fourth from the right)

Police posted a picture of the ten defendants lined up outside court, dressed in casual summer clothing. The photo is understood to include Britons Billy Stevens (left), Paul Harris (fourth from left), Daniel Jones (centre in white T-shirt) and Vincent Hook (fourth from the right)

Pictures have emerged from Cambodia showing some of the foreigners waiting outside a courtroom in Siem Reap

Pictures have emerged from Cambodia showing some of the foreigners waiting outside a courtroom in Siem Reap

The group claim a group of 30 officers raided the party after the corrupt officer was tipped off.

It has also been reported that officers demanded cash during their arrest.

A friend of the arrested Brit Mr Jones, told the Sun: ‘Police here are on the take and Dan made the mistake of not telling them about the party at the rented venue.

‘They decided to punish him then paint it as a crackdown on pornography. The whole thing stinks.’ 

A father of one of the Britons claims the party photos used to accuse them are five years old.

Guy Harris said the images that appeared online which were said to show the game were taken half a decade ago – well before his bar manager son Paul arrived in Cambodia.  

Also detained during the raid were Dutchman Job Robertus van der Wel, 22, Canadians Jessica Drolet, 25, and Eden Koazoleas, 19, along with Norwegian David Nikolaus Aleksandr Ballovarre, 22, and 32-year-old New Zealander Paul Martin Brasch. 

Sourng Sophea, an attorney for the group, said in his three-page submission to the court that the partygoers had not been naked.

A further 77 foreigners arrested were freed after being ‘educated’ about their unacceptable behaviour.  

‘When police arrived, they were wearing underwear and bras as they drank,’ Sourng Sophea told Reuters, adding that they could face between one month and one year in prison if convicted.

A video of a previous 'Let's Get Wet' pool party in Cambodia shows girls flashing their breasts as young men look on laughing. The same event this year led to arrests by the country's so-called 'morality police'

A video of a previous ‘Let’s Get Wet’ pool party in Cambodia shows girls flashing their breasts as young men look on laughing. The same event this year led to arrests by the country’s so-called ‘morality police’

The footage from last year's event shows nudity and drinking by a swimming pool

The footage from last year’s event shows nudity and drinking by a swimming pool

‘The charge of producing pornography is a little too harsh,’ he said. ‘Now, they are in prison and this is too much.’

He said the accused had not published any pictures of the event and had committed no crime. Prosecutor Keut Vannareth declined further comment. 

Tourism Minister Thong Khon said he supported the arrests of the tourists.

‘The law bans this kind of thing and maybe they were warned in advance,’ he said. ‘Siem Reap is a heritage site.’ 

Police sources said organisers of the pool party had twice been warned not to hold any further events.

When last Thursday’s event was advertised police decided to launch a raid. A police source said: ‘The organisers had been told not to hold further parties but defied the warning.’

The group was arrested on Thursday and were charged for allegedly ‘producing of pornographic pictures’ at a night for backpackers.

Cambodian authorities are understood to have taken offence at the ‘Let’s Get Wet’ event, where a Twister-style ‘sex position game’ is said to have been played and photographed. 

The five Britons among a group of five people charged in Cambodia over a Twister-style 'sex position game' include Daniel Jones, 30

Billy Stevens, 21, arrested in Cambodia over a Twister-style 'sex positions' game

The five Britons among a group of five people charged in Cambodia over a Twister-style ‘sex position game’ include Daniel Jones, 30, (left, with an unknown woman) and Billy Stevens, 21

Vincent Hook,one of the men arrested by police after a raid on a villa in the tourist hotspot of Seim Reap

Vincent Hook,one of the men arrested by police after a raid on a villa in the tourist hotspot of Seim Reap

It comes as a video emerged of an event of the same name in February last year, which shows women flashing their breasts and twerking in bikinis on bar stools.

It also features scores of drinks lined up on a bar as shots tumble into them like dominoes, before revellers pile in and grab them. 

Mr Harris, from Portsmouth, said his 33-year-old son has been in Cambodia for three years and had never been in any trouble before.

Speaking from his terraced house, he said: ‘Paul had been at work five minutes when the police turned up and made the arrests.

‘The bar he manages is near a number of other bars, and this guy had sold tickets for an event where tourists would go to visit several of them. 

‘It is like a student night, where you buy a ticket which gets you entry to clubs with a pool in – you have a drink, go in the pool and move on to the next one.

Mr Harris said his son and the others arrested had all been moved to a jail, but Paul is the only one left without a lawyer.

‘The first I knew of this was when it was reported in the news that they had been arrested,’ he said. I haven’t been able to speak to Paul since his arrest, they have his mobile phone.’

Among those detained was Eden Kazoleas (pictured), 20, from Drayton Valley, near Edmonton, Alberta. Her aunt, Donna Kazoleas, said the detentions were 'really, really concerning'

Among those detained was Eden Kazoleas (pictured), 20, from Drayton Valley, near Edmonton, Alberta. Her aunt, Donna Kazoleas, said the detentions were 'really, really concerning'

Among those detained was Eden Kazoleas (pictured), 20, from Drayton Valley, near Edmonton, Alberta. Her aunt, Donna Kazoleas, said the detentions were ‘really, really concerning’

It comes after a mother of one of five Britons among a group said she was ‘in pieces’ after speaking to him on the phone from his prison cell.

Speaking from her home in Wadhurst, East Sussex, Marci Harbour, 47, mother of Billy Stevens 21, told MailOnline: ‘We are just in pieces, and the frustrating part is that we don’t really know what to do.

‘My son had been working so wanted to go out and spend his money like any other young man. He had become good friends with the group he was with, as you do when you are travelling together.’

The five British men insist they are ‘innocent’ and claim they are not even pictured in the ‘pornographic dancing’ pictures.

It has also been suggested by Ms Habour that those arrested were pressured into a confession by the Khmer authorities.

Pictures posted on social media show her son lying on a bean bag surrounded by three women with their legs wrapped around him and another man.

Ms Habour said: ‘He was doing nothing wrong, just having a good time and a drink. That’s what he said when I managed to speak to him on the phone.

‘The embassy has been in touch and we are hearing more from them tomorrow. It is terrible to think of him being stuck out there and completely innocent.’

In a separate interview with the Daily Mail, she said: ‘We’re all devastated by this. It’s dreadful.

‘I’ve managed to speak to him but he’s had his phone taken off him now. We’ve been advised not to say anything at the moment because obviously they’re out there and we don’t want to make it worse for them. There’s a lot of us parents on it and I’m in touch with them but it’s difficult.’  

Ms Harbour said she had lost contact with her son by Sunday afternoon and was trying to liaise with the parents of others in the group for further news.

Two of the men who were arrested in Cambodia. The man on the left is thought to be Briton Daniel Jones

Two of the men who were arrested in Cambodia. The man on the left is thought to be Briton Daniel Jones

Other pictures showed the group using their phones at a police station in the resort

Other pictures showed the group using their phones at a police station in the resort

She said: ‘They are scared out of their brains. They just did what they were told in the hope they (Khmer authorities) would say ‘oh, well we’ll get you all to sign these papers and nothing will happen’. They’ve signed these papers not knowing what they are.’

The mother of a New Zealander arrested insisted that her son hadn’t disrespected the country’s morality.

Vicky Malden’s son Paul Brasch, 32, is being held at Siem Reap jail. She says he was cooking sausages and steak on the barbecue when he was arrested.

Ms Malden said she last spoke to him at 1am this morning – adding: ‘He was pretty inconsolable. I mean, he can be a bit of a rebel I suppose, but he’s just a guy. He loved Cambodia.

‘He loved the culture, he loved the people. In fact, I was pretty sure I’d lost my son to Cambodia because he loved it so much. He’s just devastated, he can’t believe what’s happening.

‘They weren’t disrespecting the morality of the Cambodians and their religion or anything. It was in a private residence, it was a ticketed event, the tickets were sold. There were around 80-100 tickets sold for the event. It was a type of pool party.

These photographs were taken at the Lets Get Wet event, which police raided on Thursday. However, it is not clear whether any of the people seen were arrested

Images from Lets Get Wet

These photographs were taken at the Let’s Get Wet event, which police raided on Thursday. However, it is not clear whether any of the people seen were arrested

‘What happened was – they came, they call them the morality police, 30 of them. Originally they arrested 70 of them and then ten were arrested from the bunch.

‘At that time my son was cooking sausages and steak on the BBQ so it’s kind of weird the whole situation. We are trying to make sense of it.

‘They originally were detained for three days at the Cambodian police station. They slept on the floor. The police were very good to them, they gave them pizza, they treated them well. They can’t say they were treated badly. 

She added: ‘I am desperate to have him back. A few of them are just children. They are just kids, having fun… we just want them home.’ 

In Cambodia, it is illegal to make pornographic images under the country’s 2007 Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation. 

Most of the men are believed to live in the Asian country and could face up to a year behind bars.

What are the Angkor Wat temples and why are they so sacred? 

Angkor Wat, a Unesco World Heritage site, is considered one of the ancient wonders of the world.

The ancient city is part of the Khmer Empire which was around between the 9th and 15th centuries.

It was constructed from the early to mid 1100s by King Suryavarman II at the height of the Khmer Empire’s political and military power and was among the largest pre-industrial cities in the world.

Last year, it was named the world’s best-rated landmark in TripAdvisor’s annual Travellers’ Choice Awards.

Police released images appearing to show clothed and laughing tourists, some in sexually suggestive positions, at the party before Thursday’s raid.

Some 30 officers are believed to have stormed the venue in what is regarded as a crackdown on inappropriate behaviour.

A poster for Thursday’s gathering advertised tickets for £5 on the door including a free drink. Photographs of previous parties show women in tiny bikinis and revellers drinking in a pool. 

One of the group later said they were confused because none of them featured in the alleged sexual pictures.

The man, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: ‘Honestly, it was really confusing. Everyone was confused. They raided, rounded us up, there were about 80 to 100 people at this party, some of them were tourists. There were about 30 of them [police officers].’

Their families were ‘worried sick’, he said, adding: ‘Our parents are doing what they can. It’s really just trying to keep a good vibe until we know the outcome.’

Among those detained was Eden Kazoleas, from Drayton Valley, near Edmonton, Alberta.

Her aunt, Donna Kazoleas, told CTV: ‘Eden is a very, very good kid. She is very outgoing. She doesn’t smoke. She doesn’t drink. This is really, really concerning.’

The alleged offences took place near to the ancient temples of Angkor Wat, in the north west of Cambodia

The alleged offences took place near to the ancient temples of Angkor Wat, in the north west of Cambodia

One prisoner described the moment police started to pluck people out of the crowd.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, they said: ‘We’re innocent. We don’t know why we’ve been arrested – we’re getting different stories from different people.’ 

Another prisoner said they saw one man vomit in shock after being taken by police.

The group are believed to have been sleeping on the floor of an office at a police station in Siem Reap for three days, but have insisted they have been treated well by their captors – saying officers were friendly and had brought them pizza. 

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said in a statement: ‘We are assisting five British men arrested in Cambodia and are providing support to their families.’

A local authority spokesman added: ‘The competent authorities are preparing a case to submit to the provincial court.’



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


Comments are closed.