A “person of interest” in the notorious abduction of three Australian siblings 50 years ago, who is also under investigation for sex crimes against minors in both Australia and Cambodia, has been identified by a child protection group as 71-year-old Anthony Munro, the former owner of a Siem Reap City gay bar.
According to anti-pedophile NGO Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE) and business owners in Siem Reap, Mr. Munro ran the city’s Station Wine Bar—known for its drag shows and large selection of imported wines—before his arrest in Australia last month.
He has since been charged with three counts of sodomy, two counts of unlawful sexual intercourse and seven counts of indecent assault for alleged crimes committed against minors in Australia as far back as 1962, according to Australian media.
He is also under investigation in Cambodia for similar crimes, said Khoem Vando, APLE’s deputy director of field operations.
“Munro [is] the subject of an investigation by APLE” and National Police, Mr. Vando said, and has been under surveillance in Siem Reap since September 2014.
“But there is not enough incriminating evidence that the police can act on,” he added.
Mr. Vando said APLE did not know how long Mr. Munro had lived in Siem Reap, but that “two to three groups of possible victims” in Cambodia had been identified.
Without naming Mr. Munro, APLE country director Samleang Seila confirmed on Sunday that he was the same man who was arrested and charged in Australia and named as a “person of interest” in the abduction of the Beaumont children—Grant, 4, Arnna, 7, and Jane, 9—from a beach in Adelaide in 1966. The case remains unsolved, the children were never found and Mr. Munro’s alleged role is unclear.
Speaking from Siem Reap on Tuesday, the manager of the Station Wine Bar, who identified himself only as Vo, said he did not “know about the history of Mr. Tony Munro” but that he worked under Mr. Munro for “about two months” before the venue changed hands. The manager referred questions to the current owner, a man named Kea, who could not be reached.
Other bar owners in the city said Mr. Munro ran the Station Wine Bar for several years but had not been seen for at least a month.
In an interview with The Phnom Penh Post published in July 2011, Mr. Munro said he had recently come out as gay and was launching the first drag show at the Station.
“Up until a couple of years ago, I had been a closet case all my life, so I thought: ‘Oh well, this is one way of having a place for people like me,’” he was quoted as saying.
retka@cambodiadaily.com
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