The New Zealander deported from Cambodia after being initially charged with producing pornography has thanks friends and family for support during his ordeal.
Paul Brasch, 32, a tour guide in the South East Asia country, was among 10 people arrested on pornography charges at a pool party in Siem Reap last month.
However, the charges were downgraded after no pornographic material was found and Siem Reap governor So Platong said they were actually arrested for allegedly ignoring a warning to stop their parties.
In a statement issued this evening on social media, Brasch said he and the others in the group "meant no disrespect to the Cambodian people and their culture by attending a social pool side event" on January 25.
"I would like to stress to everyone that at no time were we involved in any pornographic activities as some media outlets are incorrectly reporting.
"At the center of this are some photos being published that seem to be at least 3 to 4 years old and i can assure you totally unrelated to us [sic]."
He thanks his family and friends "for their tremendous support during my recent ordeal" and also claimed he had not been deported, as reported by media.
"We we [sic] free to leave the country however the rest wanted to go home and I didn't. We are just banned from Cambodia," Brasch said.
Seven of the 10 have now been deported. The Siem Reap Provincial Court, which granted bail to the seven last week, had also ordered them to leave Cambodia, court spokesman Yin Srang told Reuters.
"A judge said that they must leave the country, that they must not return, and that they must not gather in a group and party," he said.
Defence lawyer Ouch Sopheaktra said all seven had left the country and the three remaining foreigners still in detention, from Britain, the Netherlands and Norway, would soon be put on trial.
Ouch Sopheaktra, one of the group's lawyers, said the seven Westerners left Cambodia from Wednesday through Friday last week. He said no money had been deposited for their release on bail. Charges against them remain active, however.
"The seven have been ordered to leave Cambodia temporarily and now they have already arrived in their home countries," Ouch Sopheaktra said.
The only women among the 10 detained people, Canadians Eden Kazoleas and Jessica Drolet, arrived by plane in Toronto on Friday night, and spoke briefly to the press.
"I'm very happy to be home, I'm grateful to be in Canada," said Kazoleas, a 19-year-old from Alberta. "I look forward to seeing my family and my parents, who have done absolutely everything they could to bring me home."
Kazoleas thanked Cambodian authorities for their "understanding" during the incident.
"I did not know, nor did I think attending a pool party would be offensive in Cambodian culture," Kazoleas said.
"I apologise to anyone who thinks it was, but ... when I attended the party I was not taking part in any pornographic dancing or anything the media suggests I was doing and I am very disappointed in the way I was represented."
Drolet, a 26-year-old from Ontario, expressed similar sentiments.
The two women said they were happy to have each other's company during the ordeal.
"I was lucky to have Jessica in there with me," Kazoleas said.
"As much as I wish she didn't have to go through it, I couldn't have done it without her."
- NZN, AP