If you’re a fan of Locked Up Abroad, this incident may be the premise of an upcoming episode.
Cambodian police detained almost 90 foreigners and 10 of them, including five Britons, two Canadians, one Norwegian, one New Zealander, and one from the Netherlands, have been charged in Cambodia for “singing and dancing pornographically” when a party was raided in Siem Reap. The travelers face up to a year in prison and could be stuck in jail for six months before the case goes to trial. Reportedly, one of the men who was arrested vomited in shock.
“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 20 of them [police officers],” said one of the prisoners.
The group believes the raid was part of a police crackdown on tourists and expats for wearing bikinis in public and ex-pat run bars in the area. The police have released images online that show notably clothed tourists pantomiming sexual positions–tacky but tame by Western standards. A Cambodian prosecutor, Samrith Sokhon, says the suspects were charged with producing “pornographic pictures and materials."
The head of the anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection department in Siem Reap said, “We cracked down on them because they committed activities that are against our culture.”
British authorities are working to help the five Britons arrested. “We are assisting five British men arrested in Cambodia and are providing support to their families,” said the UK Foreign office in a statement.
The arrests are part of an emerging pattern in the Southeast Asian country. In 2015, a group of tourists were arrested for taking naked photos at the Angkor temple complex. The following year, Cambodian authorities banned tourists from wearing revealing clothing at the site, which is arguably more offensive than lewd dancing.