News: Owner of FX Animation Studio Theodor Symon arrested for abusing 9 year old boy


A 57 year old German man, Udo Theodore Symon, has been arrested in Phnom Penh for allegedly sexually abusing the nine year old son of his cleaner. Mr Symon is the owner of FX Animation Studios, which describes itself as Phnon Penh’s leading animation and audio dubbing facility and is used widely in Cambodia’s fledgling film and advertising industries.

Mr Symon was arrested following a complaint filed by the child victim’s mother. He was arrested at 10:30 am in the morning of the 16th of June 2015 on ‘Concrete’ Road, Ta Ngov Krom Village, Sangkat Niroth, Khan Chbar Ampov, and he has been charged with sexual contact with a minor.

According to initial police reports, the mother of the boy who was abused was employed as a cleaner for the German and she often took her son along with her when she went to clean the house. When the mother was busy at the market buying food, the German took the opportunity to persuade the boy into his bedroom by tricking him that they would play a game. Then the German made the boy perform oral sex on him. The boy told his mother, who in turn informed the police who immediately came to arrest the man. He has been taken him to the Phnom Penh Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Police Department.

It appears that Mr Symon has been in Cambodia since May 2013. According to his Linkedin profile, he was previously employed in animation studios in Germany and was the CEO of Planet Wave Studio in Saigon from 1994 to 2001. Curiously, his Linkedin profile includes no details of where he was or what he was doing from 2001 to 2013. It also appears that Mr Symon used another name – Udo Sabiniewicz – prior to arriving in Cambodia. It is not clear why, nor is it clear whether Symon or Sabiniewicz is his real name.


Mr Symon is the third expat to be arrested on child sex charges this week. Earlier today a 55 year old French man Bernard Soudeller (above) was arrested in Kandal Province for allegedly raping a 12 year boy, and yesterday a Mexican national, Bernado Pino Paez was arrested in Sihanoukville for allegedly molesting underage girls.

19 thoughts on “News: Owner of FX Animation Studio Theodor Symon arrested for abusing 9 year old boy

  1. Uncle Monty's Ghost Reply

    Is every arrest of this kind to be a regular feature here?

  2. chris Reply

    My thoughts too and if so, could it a least wait until guilt has been proved, not to mention the fact it would have been better to use ‘allegedly’ in the title.

    • wpadmin Post authorReply

      The terms of his arrest were for abusing at least one, and likely many more young boys. That is a matter of public record issued by the Cambodian police when the arrest was made. Do media outlets in the west also wait until courts convict before reporting arrests and the reasons for these arrests?

      • Seven heads Reply

        No but they are very careful to be impartial and use words like alleged because civilized nations have a principle of “innocent until proven guilty”.

  3. Marco Reply

    Agreed with the above, the title should say “allegedly”. Would a guy who’s been active in South East Asia since the 90’s and owns successful companies be so clueless as to do this to the son of his cleaner? Certainly not, it’s much more likely this is some sort of set up to extort money from him, possibly orchestrated by the police friends or relatives of the cleaner. Welcome to Cambodia.

  4. Theodor Symon Reply

    It may raise the question, how can he post from prison?
    Phones are generally illegal, but without phones, the prison would be bankrupt in a week. They drive the money in.

    Let’s summaries.

    Being an expert in my field, I went to many developing countries for the love of pioneer work. Last destination Vietnam, where I developed a complete new Industry.

    Many potentially clients from all over the world send me requests, can you do, can you do, can you do. But instead of understanding that I bring new standards to Cambodia and driving new attention to the country, I got hate, hate, hate. Cambodians turn mad if they see success.

    From the first day, I experienced heavy interference and hindrance by the locals. Many projects has been damaged. A Cambodian businessman told me, be careful you are too successful.

    One day a policeman appeared in my studio, forcing me to sign a document to transfer the studio to a local party (3 witness) for peanuts but I refused. Two women suddenly appeared, asking me to work for me but has been shortly identified as scammers and thrown out. One stole an iPad.

    On the 17. June 2015, I committed the crime to prepare my studio for another tv spot production for Unilever Singapore, a client that a local agency just lost to me. Suddenly I was surrounded by ten armed policemen and dragged with force into a car without explanation or arrest warrant (20 witnesses).

    Without explanations the press has been invited by the police who gave a photo of my passport to them, which is now in the Internet. Everybody in the world can copy my signature and using sensitive data. How many Nigerian have already opened a bank account in my name and making transactions? Will I be next for some money laundering, fraudulent Internet business? Buying phone cards for crime in my name, ordering drugs and child porn?

    Without explanation the police entered my house, collecting randomly valuable items like they go shopping, including all production material. I have been thrown in the most dirty prison cell for four days, bagging for water. Lawyer and medical help has been refused.

    Public execution by the media feeded by the (APLE) police, who operating illegal the Anti Human Trafficking Department, with stories, all my young talents has been abused. They know nothing about it. Without respect to my medical issues, the prosecutor told the media, I’m a homeless pedophile with ten victims.

    “Sir, there is not enough evidence against you.”
    Thlang Daniyl, investigation judge

    “Sir, there is not enough evidence against you but 3.000$ will lower your sentence.”
    The lawyer

    Two lawyers for 1.500$ but they couldn’t find an arrest and detention warrant in my case file after five months. 1.400$ stolen in prison. Almost 3.000.

    Seeing detainees going in and out shortly as they could pay. I can’t anymore. Lawyers who hinder to submit documents to the German embassy so they can’t complain to the MOJ. Delaying since two weeks medical reports for appeal to release me for medical issues. Seeing here foreigners slowly dying because they couldn’t pay.

    For the crime of being too successful and this sick envy of Cambodian people?

    There is no justice in Cambodia. They run an arrest and ransom system. As there was no arrest warrant and no flagrant situation, it was clearly abduction. But the embassies and the United Nations are now seriously looking after such cases. Policemen and businessmen here are convinced that this was a typical set up for competition reasons.

    Take it as a big warning about doing business in Cambodia.

    Theodor Symon

  5. Theodor Symon Reply

    There is also a discussion here.

    Mrs. xxxx xxxxx contact me in a bar, giving me a heartbreaking story about her husband who just died and he has no job. I offer her to stay with me but this lady is not very interested in work, much more in alcohol. Her son is a nightmare. After being out with her, she was permanently drunk and introduced her son to some foreigners. I watched this show for a couple of evening and kissed her bye bye. I doesn’t want to be involved in this shit. There are about 3.400 detainees here and some know her and told me what behind her. Investigation not closed yet. But she is very well connected to drug and child traffickers. Some Nigerian here know her and they have a different opinion about her as what she stated. She is from Thailand and has been banned from her family.

    2. Mother of xxxxx contact me at a swimming pool. Same story. She has quite a history of foreign husbands. Came afternoon to my house which is a studio, an office and a bedroom. Got salary in advance and didn’t show up for two weeks. Came back and I throw her out. She stole an iPad from me and as my friends and me ask her to bring back, I got “I have a brother at the police and I can take what I want.” Both ladies know each other.

    3. The so called other victims refer to my studio talents. Their parents visit me 3 times in prey sar. They’ve been shocked about what they read in the news. Nobody of them have ever made any complaints about me. One mother went to the police to report her as a scammer. She is under investigation but did not appear for hearing. Next time arrest warrant for her.

    [edited by Admin to remove the name of alleged victims]

  6. john.sweden Reply

    Interesting insight in Prey Sar, the money business, and to hear from you what happened with the mothers of the two boys.

    The online fighting against APLE and the Cambodia ‘justice’ with wordpress-blogs resembles a bit the Fletcher-case. Looks like it’s a way to get connected with other ‘victims’ (I’ve read the comments).

    I think you should clear up more things.
    Why did you go to Cambodia in the first place and didn’t stay in Vietnam, especially after experiencing so much resistance from locals?
    Why is there a gap on your Linkedin? You don’t mention many developing countries on it.
    Why don’t you name the ‘local party’?
    Do you think APLE payed the mothers?
    Do they, and how much money do they want to extort from you?
    What happened to the company car?

    I have doubts about the reliability of mother number 1, she looks rather ‘unstable’. But did she make up a story against you? If she is really so dangerous, should she be on a ‘scammer’-site?

    By the way: I guess 57 year old German man, should be 65. Some news site published incorrect details.

    • Theodor Symon Reply

      APLE has nothing to do with my case. They interfere illegally the anti human trafficking department, committing crime by giving information and disinformation away. All police procedures at this department, past and present, are null and void concerning Cambodian laws.

      A Likin profile is not a CV. I just put the key experience in. 2001 I had to slow down a bit for health issues. I did some film music productions, wrote three books, some consultancy jobs, nothing so important.

      Why come to Cambodia?
      I’m asking myself this question every day. Just wanted to see how business goes. Did one year some various jobs but realized soon, you can’t work with the locals. Then a Japanese media company contact me. Can you a.) build a professional dubbing studio, b.) raise a team, c.) dub a 156 episodes cartoon in high quality. Can do.

      Than the Russians (OneTV) came to me, can you do a 300 hours HBO movies and a 400 hours documentary. Than the Malaysian for a various series, than the Chinese with tons of staff, than the international advertising agencies. It was close to a big facility with five studios. And than I got arrested, legally abducted.

      The car is confiscated by the police and the legal reason unknown. I bet there is some more milage on the meter now.

      • john.sweden Reply

        I’ve read about a similar case in SHV, the accused eventually stayed 8 months in jail.

        Not intended to be cruel and without irony: you can write a book about Prey Sar.

  7. Theodor Symon Reply


    Referring Mr. H. Vibol, former APLE director, APLE receives 5.000$ from donors for each investigation and 2.000$ for each arrest which goes to the police.

    Inmates confirm common scam business. Womens attract foreigner, engage them with their kids, accuse for child abuse and try to extort money. Most cases end up discreetly on a police station. App. 300 cases per year.

    ACU starts questioning and seeking evidence about APLE.

  8. prahocalypse now Reply

    If there really were 300 cases of this per year, that would be almost one a day. If it is true that most cases get settled in police stations, we’d hear a lot more about this “scam”. I have never heard or read about an innocent person being scammed in this manner. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen, but if it’s true, it would amount to thousands of innocent foreigners being scammed since APLE began operations in Cambodia.

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