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Group Denies Defrocked Monk Had Affairs With Women

A Khmer Kampuchea Krom advocacy group has denied allegations by a government spokesman and a program on state-run TV that a recently defrocked monk had affairs with women at his pagoda.

Tim Sakhorn, former chief monk of Phnom Den pagoda in Takeo province, was defrocked and ejected to Vietnam last week following accusations he was stirring unrest between Cambodia and Vietnam.

Rights workers said those rumors sounded suspiciously like a set-up and have said they believe the monk was abducted and handed over to Vietnam.

National television has been broadcasting a story with people claiming to know the monk saying he engaged in at least one affair with a woman. A woman appears on the program, with a voice over, claiming to have had a relationship with the monk, the Cambodia Daily reported.

An investigator for the rights group Adhoc, Chan Saveth, said the allegations and program seemed pre-arranged.

"It seems like it is a preparation because the woman is involved with [the monk's] relative and even went to stay at his relative's house for two to three days," he said.

Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said Thursday the monk's business was the monk's business.

"He did nothing wrong. In the past, he had a woman," Khieu Kanharith said. "Wherever he went was his business."

The treatment of the Khmer Krom in Vietnam and Cambodia is a highly charged issue that has led to violence on several occasions in recent months.