Thirty-two U.S. embassy employees in Cambodia fired over alleged sharing of pornography

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) – The US embassy in Cambodia has fired 32 individuals after they had been allegedly caught sharing pornographic materials in a non-official chat group, a number of sources accustomed to the matter mentioned on Friday.

Individuals stroll alongside a avenue close to the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, April 13, 2018. REUTERS/Samrang Pring

4 sources advised Reuters that pornographic movies and images, together with some that includes individuals beneath the age of 18, had been shared in a Fb Messenger chat group.

Among the photographs had been seen by the spouse of an embassy employee who reported the incident to an official on the embassy. The matter was then forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the sources mentioned.

“They’d their identification playing cards taken and a few of their telephones checked,” a former U.S. embassy employees member advised Reuters on situation of anonymity.

He mentioned the 32 embassy employees included Cambodians and Cambodian-Individuals. Many had been guards and a few had been clerical employees. There have been no diplomats amongst them, they mentioned.

Two of the sources, each of whom work on the embassy, confirmed the dismissals.

The dismissals come at a time of pressure between Cambodia and america over U.S. criticism of a crackdown on dissent by long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen, and his anger over what he says have been U.S. efforts to undermine his rule.

The US has denied interfering in Cambodian politics. The Cambodian authorities has not commented on the dismissals.

A person holds a Cambodian flag reverse the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, April 13, 2018. REUTERS/Samrang Pring

Cambodia, nonetheless rising from a long time of battle and poverty, has been infamous for baby prostitution, and a number of other foreigners have been convicted and jailed for baby abuse lately.

Youngster rape continued to be a significant issue in Cambodia, the U.S. State Division mentioned in a 2016 report.

An embassy spokesman mentioned he couldn’t remark and referred queries to the State Division. The State Division declined to remark when contacted by Reuters.

“These data are confidential,” a State Division official advised Reuters on Friday.

“I’m not certain that’s actually one thing we might have touch upon,” he mentioned.

Reuters couldn’t contact any of the employees who had been fired. The FBI couldn’t be reached for remark and Cambodian police spokesman Kirth Chantharith additionally couldn’t be reached for remark.

It was not instantly potential to get a determine for the variety of individuals employed on the embassy, which is housed in a purpose-built, city-center compound.

Reporting by Prak Chan Thul; Enhancing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre, Robert Birsel

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