A Siem Reap bar owner labeled a “person of interest” in the disappearance of three siblings in South Australia has pleaded guilty in a separate case to 10 counts of sex abuse involving several children, court records show.
Anthony Munro, 71, the owner of the Station Wine Bar in Siem Reap City, returned to his home country in June after being contacted by the Australian Embassy regarding the charges, according to the bar’s acting manager, Keo Piseth.
Anthony Munro, second from right, poses with friends in this undated photograph provided to The Cambodia Daily.“He realized that he had made mistakes,” Mr. Piseth said last month.
“He went because…his embassy contacted him,” he said, adding that Mr. Munro had lived in Cambodia for at least six years.
During a court hearing on August 4, requested by Mr. Munro, he confessed to sexually abusing multiple victims in South Australia’s Kangaroo Island, Rapid Bay and the Glenelg suburb between 1965 and 1983, records from the Adelaide Magistrates Court show.
Mr. Munro’s bail conditions were revised the same day to allow him to travel to the island state of Tasmania between August 21 and September 26 for unspecified purposes. His next hearing is scheduled for October 11.
Mr. Munro is also under investigation by South Australian police probing the 1966 abduction of Grant, Arnna and Jane Beaumont, aged 4 to 9, from a beach in Adelaide, according to Australian media. His alleged role in the case is unclear.
In 1992, Mr. Munro was convicted over a 1990 indecent assault case and sentenced to seven months in prison, the court records show. The age of the victim was not given.
South Australian police declined to provide details about that case, but suggested the victim was a minor. Due to “strict privacy principles in South Australia and legislation surrounding child sex offenders, this is not information police are able to provide,” they said in an email.
In Siem Reap, Mr. Munro is under investigation by police and child protection group Action Pour Les Enfants for allegedly abusing at least two boys last year, according to the organization’s country country director, Samleang Seila, who says Mr. Munro also funded and volunteered at multiple orphanages in the province.
Since his return to Australia, the investigation has been moving slowly, Mr. Seila said on Thursday.
The police are still working on the case and “also monitoring the places where we suspect” he abused children, he said.
Duong Thavary, chief of the provincial police’s juvenile protection bureau, could not be reached for comment. She has previously claimed that she is unaware of the investigation.
According to Mr. Piseth, the bar’s manager, Mr. Munro’s support for various NGOs in Cambodia was an effort to clear his conscience following the crimes he committed in Australia.
“He told me on a few occasions… that he didn’t want to feel regret again and again,” he said. “That’s why he tried to clean himself to make himself better,” he said.
“He made mistakes 30 to 40 years ago,” he added.
retka@cambodiadaily.com, soumy@cambodiadaily.com
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