In this photo dated Jan. 25, 2018, a group of unidentified foreigners, who are accused of “dancing pornographically” at a party in Siem Reap town. (Cambodian National Police via AP)

Two Canadian women arrested in Cambodia, charged over party photos

Several foreigners accused of producing pornographic photos during party near Angkor Wat temple

Two Canadian women arrested among several foreigners in Cambodia are facing charges of producing pornographic photos during a party near the country’s famed Angkor Wat temple.

A news release from the Cambodian National Police lists Eden Kazoleas, 20, and Jessica Drolet, 25, and eight men as being detained in the northwestern town of Siem Reap. CTV News reports that Kazoleas is from Drayton Valley, Alta.

“This is really, really concerning,” her aunt Donna Kazoleas told CTV. “Eden is a very, very good kid. She is very outgoing. She doesn’t smoke. She doesn’t drink.”

A Cambodian prosecutor Samrith Sokhon said Monday that the 10 foreigners — including five from the United Kingdom, and one each from Norway, the Netherlands and New Zealand — have denied any wrongdoing.

Still, there is “enough evidence to prove that they violated the law and, therefore, they must face charges,” Sokhon said.

The accused face up to a year in prison if convicted. Since they are in jail, they could not be reached for comment and it was not immediately possible to find the lawyer representing them.

Global Affairs Canada said it was providing consular services to the Canadians in Cambodia.

“Consular officials are in contact with local authorities to gather additional information,” said a spokesman, who added that he wouldn’t comment further to protect the privacy of those involved.

Police said they raided a rented villa Thursday in Siem Reap, where foreigners were taking part in what organizers called a pub crawl. Many were ”dancing pornographically,” officers said.

While almost 90 foreigners were detained, all but the 10 were released.

On Sunday, they were formally charged with producing pornographic pictures, which the prosecutor said had been posted on social media.

Photos released by police show young adults rolling around together on a dance floor. They all have their clothes on except for a few shirtless men who can be seen straddling some women.

The Khmer Times, an English-language newspaper close to the government, said some of the events were known as “Let’s Get Wet.”

A Facebook page for Let’s Get Wet parties in Siem Reap advertise “Asia’s biggest pool crawl.” It offers every Thursday “a whole day of partying in a Villa Mansion just out of town with hundreds of other backpackers” featuring a DJ, barbecue and pool.

Photos on the Facebook page showed young people in bikinis and swimsuits at pool parties.

Calls to the number listed on the page rang unanswered Monday.

It is not the first time young travellers have found themselves in hot water in Cambodia. In recent years there has been a flurry of tourists who posed nude or semi-naked for photos at landmarks, including ancient temple sites, then posted the pictures on the internet. When caught, they have been expelled from the country.

With files from The Associated Press, CTV

The Canadian Press

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