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Alleged traffickers in court for brides

Four alleged human-traffickers appeared in Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday charged with transporting young Cambodian women to China to be sold as brides.

The trial follows the arrests of Doeuk Meth, 52; Kheang Sengly, 31; Kheang Sorphea, 28; and Chinese national Liu Shiping, 35, at Phnom Penh International Airport in December 2013.

At the time of their arrest, they were allegedly attempting to oversee the departure of three women, aged between 19 and 23, on a flight bound for China.

Shiping, who is accused of overseeing the deal and paying $1,600 to the parents of each woman, has denied the charges, claiming he was in the country seeking a wife for himself.

Sorphea, who police said previously confessed to involvement in at least 30 cases, confessed to working as an interpreter to facilitate the transactions, but claimed the three women were the first she had been involved with.

Doeuk Meth and Kheang Sengly are accused of transporting the women to travel document appointments and medical checkups. Both claim not to have known the girls were destined for sale as brides in China.

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