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UK tourist arrested for 'pornographic dancing' in Cambodia says pool party was 'like every other day'

'I didn’t see any reason why it would be any different,' says Thomas Jeffries. 'Then the police arrived'

Samuel Osborne
Tuesday 13 February 2018 22:02 GMT
A photo issued by Cambodian police of the group, aged 19 to 35.
A photo issued by Cambodian police of the group, aged 19 to 35. (Cambodian National Police/AP)

A British man accused of “producing pornographic pictures” at a pool party in Cambodia has said the gathering was “like every other day” in the holiday destination.

Thomas Jeffries, 22, was among 10 Westerners arrested on 25 January at a villa in Siem Reap, a tourist town which is home to the Angkor Wat temple.

Police accused the group of posting lewd pictures of themselves “dancing pornographically” online.

But all those arrested deny the charges and claim they have no link to years-old photos circulating of partygoers apparently simulating sex positions.

Mr Jeffries had been working in bars and hostels in the town for two years, but retunred to the UK last week.

“It’s a shame to leave because I had so many good friends there, both Cambodian and Westerners," he said. "It’s been my home for two years. I loved the country, it is a fantastic place, really kind people.

“The villa was much like every other day in Siem Reap, very similar to any hostel, pool or bar, anywhere that I’ve been to in the country. I didn’t see any reason why it would be any different. Then the police arrived.

“It had just tipped it down with rain so people were all hiding under cover moments before. All I saw were people cowering from the rain and having a few beers.

“The music wasn’t even that loud.”

The group, who were pictured in orange prison uniforms and some with shaved heads, did not know how long they would remain in custody.

Mr Jeffries said: “It was a scary time for all of us. There were always concerns in the back of our heads but at that point I guess we didn’t really understand the severity of the situation.”

Seven members of the arrested group returned to their home countries last week, leaving three in custody, among them a British man named Daniel Richard Leeming Jones.

The Foreign Office said it is continuing to assist a British man who was arrested in Cambodia.

Additional reporting by Press Association

  • We are happy to make clear that charges against Thomas Jeffries have since been dropped.

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