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Brothel case goes to court

PHNOM Penh Municipal Court yesterday heard the case against four Vietnamese nationals charged with illegally running a brothel out of a coffee shop in Daun Penh district’s Psar Thmey III commune.

Military police arrested Nguyen Thy Mai, 31, Nguyen Yang Tang, 31, Nguyen Vang Thoeu, 36, and Mao Thy, 36, after a raid on the coffee shop in April.

Chea Y Yong, chief of the military police anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection bureau, said during yesterday’s hearing that the raid followed a monthlong investigation into the premises.

“We are still hunting for two Vietnamese people who have already been charged with procuring prostitution, and we have identified them as the owner of the coffee shop and a supervisor,” he said.

All four defendants denied the charges, saying that they worked only in their specified jobs.

Nguyen Thy Mai said she had worked as a cook for around a month before being arrested. “I did not know it was a brothel, I just worked cooking food for the girls,” she said. “But I always saw male customers coming in and out.”

But court prosecutor Ek Chheng Huot rebutted the denials, based on testimony from the prostitutes.

“They told police that they shared half of their money with their manager, named Nguyen Vang Thoeu, every time they had sex,” he said. “There were used condoms confiscated as evidence.”

Each defendant faces between two and five years in prison if found guilty. Presiding Judge Chang Sinath did not announce a date for the verdict.

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