This is Chhay Reaksmey.
She is 13 years old.
But she’s not at school, or playing on the streets with her friends.
Instead she is locked up in the notorious adult prison, Prey Sar. She’s been there 8 months.
Police arrested her and her father for drug trafficking. (Most likely they were delivering drugs to users within their area and getting paid peanuts for doing so.)
Legally you cannot be held by the authorities in Cambodia if you are younger than 14 years old.
But the police mistakenly charged her under the name of her 20 year-old sister.
And they refuse to admit to their error. Loss of face you see.
When asked how police could confuse a 13-year-old child for a 20-year-old adult, Tuol Sangke commune police chief Huy Hean denied any mistake had been made, despite her small stature and young appearance.
He suggested instead that her family had doctored the residence book (which shows proof of age), insisting that Reaksmey was indeed 20 years old.“Actually, Ros Srey Lim and Chhay Reaksmey are just one person. She used to commit many drug crimes,” Hean said.
She’s 20 years-old according to the vile Police Chief. Not 13. Proof to the contrary, or not. He doesn’t care.
And so she continues to rot in an adult prison.
For more on Cambodian Prison life see: