German man accused of sexually abusing Cambodian boy

A Cambodian court has charged a German man with sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy in the country's main tourist town, officials said Thursday.

Investigating Judge Aing Mealdey of Siem Reap provincial court said he charged Tim Edward Schmidt, 35, on Wednesday with debauchery, a legal term for sex acts involving minors that are punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Schmidt is being detained in prison pending trial, he said.

Police arrested Schmidt on Monday after receiving tips from informants who had seen him bring the boy into different guesthouses on several occasions, said Sun Bun Thorng, the provincial anti-human trafficking police chief.

The boy told police that Schmidt, who had been seen traveling with him in Cambodia during the last two months, had performed sexual acts with him many times, Sun Bun Thorng said.

Schmidt denied the allegation, he said.

Child rights advocates say lax law enforcement in Cambodia has made it an attractive destination for foreign pedophiles, but police have recently stepped up action against offenders.

Siem Reap is 230 kilometers (145 miles) northwest of Phnom Penh, the capital, and is the site of Angkor Wat, the country's main destination for foreign tourists, reports the AP.

I.L.