32 fired at US Embassy in Cambodia for ‘porn sharing’

The US embassy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia (Image: REUTERS)
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Porn-sharing Facebook Messenger group at US embassy in Cambodia sees 32 people fired

The United States embassy in Cambodia has fired 32 employees after they were allegedly caught sharing pornography.

The group was uncovered when some of the images were seen by an embassy worker’s wife, who reported the incident to an embassy official.

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The matter was then forwarded to the FBI, sources told Reuters news agency.

“They had their identification cards taken and some of their phones checked,” said a former U.S. embassy staff member.

He said the 32 embassy workers included Cambodians and Cambodian-Americans.

The non-official chat group being used at the purpose-built city-centre compound featured both videos and photos, including some featuring people under the age of 18.

The law of consent in Cambodia is 15 (Image: REUTERS)

The age of consent in Cambodia is 15. The embassy is considered US soil, and in the US the age of consent is 16-18, depending on the state-by-state legislation.

Many of those sacked at the Phnom Penh embassy were guards and some were clerical staff. There were no diplomats among them.

The dismissals come at a time of tension between Cambodia and the US over American criticism of a crackdown on dissents by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Sen is angry over what he says have been U.S. efforts to undermine his rule.

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

Cambodia, still emerging from decades of conflict and poverty, has been notorious for child prostitution, and several foreigners have been convicted and jailed for child abuse in recent years.

Child rape continued to be a serious problem in Cambodia, the U.S. State Department said in a 2016 report.

An embassy spokesman said he could not comment and referred queries to the State Department. The State Department declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

“These records are confidential,” a State Department official said.

“I am not sure that’s really something we would have comment on,” he said.

The FBI could not be reached for comment and Cambodian police spokesman Kirth Chantharith also could not be reached for comment.



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