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Adopted daughters recount ‘torture’

A young woman yesterday described to a court how she had spent years of her childhood feeling like a slave to her adoptive mother as she suffered beatings and torture in a home she was rarely allowed to leave, even for school.

Ly Pov, 50, the wife of well-known tycoon Veng Techla, was tried in absentia yesterday, accused of brutally beating and torturing her two adopted daughters over the course of several years, said Top Chunlong, vice prosecutor at Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

“Ly Pov brought the two girls from their poor families to live with her family in Phnom Penh as her adopted daughters,” Chunlong said. “But she always beat them and tortured them, from when they were underage until they were grown.”

Her “cruel and inhumane” practices included the use of electric wires, and she also used her fists to beat the young girls living in her care.

One of the victims, 21, said she left her family in Takeo province at the age of seven. From that point until she was finally able to escape last year, Pov never allowed her to leave the house. She did not attend school, and could not read or write, she said.

“In the period of 13 years that I lived with her, I felt like she did not consider that I was her adopted daughter, but that … I was only her slave in her house,” she told the court yesterday.

She recounted severe beatings and other forms of physical torture every time Pov was unsatisfied with the quality of her work.

The second victim, 18, brought from Battambang when she was just three years old, asked the court “to strongly punish [Pov] by law” in order to “prevent her from committing such cruelty” to others.

The two victims’ families withdrew their lawsuits against Pov after she paid them $13,000 each in compensation, defence lawyer Put Theavy said.

He claimed his client beat the girls as punishment in her role of their adoptive mother, and dismissed the accusations of torture. He asked for the charges to be dropped, as compensation had already been paid.

The verdict is due on May 2.

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