A Russian businessman has been arrested for allegedly having sex with at least six girls in Cambodia, a senior police official said Thursday.
Alexander Trofimov, the chairman of an investment company, was arrested Wednesday at Cambodia's coastal city of Sihanoukville, said police Maj. Gen. Bit Kimhong, director of the Interior Ministry's antihuman trafficking department.
The police officer said Trofimov, 41, was arrested on charges of debauchery, a Cambodian legal term for sex abuse against children that is punishable by 10 to 20 years in jail.
Trofimov allegedly had sex with five girls in 2005 and another one this year, Bit Kimhong said, adding that the girls were between 12 and 18 years old.
Police were transporting Trofimov in a car from Sihanoukville to a court in the capital, Phnom Penh, where he would be questioned and face formal charges, Bit Kimhong said.
He said the arrest warrant described Trofimov's alleged crimes as "gravely affecting social moral."
The case comes as police in neighboring Thailand are trying to arrest suspected Canadian pedophile Christopher Paul Neil for allegedly paying boys for sex. Cambodian police have also been alerted should Neil, the subject of a global Interpol manhunt, try to slip across the border.
Thailand and Cambodia are among the top destinations for Western men seeking sex with young males and females. A number of foreign pedophiles have been arrested in Cambodia in recent years.
In September last year, Trofimov's company received permission from the Cambodian government to develop an island off Sihanoukville into a tourist resort with an initial investment of up to US$300 million (EUR211 million).
The island - Koh Puos or Snake Island - is located about 800 meters (a half-mile) off a popular beach site in Sihanoukville, about 185 kilometers (115 miles) southwest of Phnom Penh.