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Brothel owner gets 10 years

SIEM Reap provincial court yesterday sentenced a Vietnamese man and two Vietnamese women to 10 years each in prison after finding them guilty of selling three underage girls for sex in a brothel in Siem Reap town last year.

Patrick Stayton, president of the International Justice Mission, which provided a lawyer for the victims, said yesterday that police raided a brothel on June 29 last year following a tip-off from IJM.

Police arrested Ty Kimhoeung, 50, the owner of the brothel, and released six Vietnamese prostitutes, three of whom were under the age of 18. A Vietnamese woman and Ty Kimhoeung’s son-in-law remain at large after having escaped the raid.

IJM lawyer Sek Saroeun said yesterday that the court found Ty Kimhoeung guilty of procuring prostitution, while finding the two fugitives guilty in absentia of being accomplices.

Stayton said he was unhappy with the court’s decision not to order the three to pay compensation to the three victims.

“We are satisfied with the court’s conviction, which is the right judgment to show they took the case seriously and gave them heavy sentences,” he said. “But we are not happy that no compensation was given to the victims.”

He said IJM might appeal and request the court to “reconsider” the lack of compensation awarded to the victims.

Defence Lawyer Thorng Vanna said yesterday that he thought the sentence was too severe.

“We are not satisfied with the judgment, and it is a very heavy sentence,” he said, and added that a decision to appeal would depend on his client’s wishes.

Also yesterday, Siem Reap provincial court ordered a 44-year-old man to serve pretrial detention after charging him with raping and killing his 11-year-old stepdaughter in Siem Reap town’s Chong Khneas commune on Tuesday, police officials said.

Saom Phorn, 44, is accused of killing Leng Kunthea, whose body was discovered roughly 5 metres from her house on Tuesday. An autopsy revealed the girl was raped, and that she was strangled and suffered head injuries.

Deputy district police chief Mak Sam On said yesterday the court ordered the accused to serve pretrial detention.

“The court prosecutor has charged the accused with sexual assault and intentional murder,” he said.

“He didn’t confess to us, but later confessed to court officials that he killed the girl because she screamed, and he feared that she would alert the
neighbours.”

He added: “It was a brutal killing and the first time in my area that a father has raped and killed a daughter in a long time.”

Court officials could not be reached for comment.

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