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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - CNRP to probe organ claims

People entering Preah Ket Mealea Military Hospital on August 10
People entering Preah Ket Mealea Military Hospital on August 10. Police have said arrests that day over alleged organ trafficking were a mistake. The opposition plans to examine the original claims. Pha Lina

CNRP to probe organ claims

The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party plans to launch an investigation into organ trafficking in Cambodia following the mysterious case of an alleged kidney ring operating out of a military hospital in Phnom Penh.

Mu Sochua, a CNRP lawmaker and head of the newly formed National Assembly commission on health care, told the Post yesterday that the party will probe claims of organ trafficking.

“If there is enough evidence, we will hold an independent investigation,” she said.

Following a post on CNRP leader Sam Rainsy’s official Facebook Page on Saturday briefly detailing the “thriving industry”, social media users responded with their own unverified tales of loss and deceit.

One said that his mother-in-law lost her kidney because of the “false report” of a doctor at Preah Ket Mealea hospital who told her to have it removed. Another spoke of a daily health struggle since having a kidney “stolen” by doctors.

According to Sochua, the party will today begin contacting those who have come forward.

Rainsy’s post follows allegations and government denials of kidney trafficking at Preah Ket Mealea hospital, which he fears are “just the tip of the iceberg”.

A police document obtained by the Post earlier this month said eight people had been detained on suspicion of trafficking human organs. But at a press conference the next day, Phnom Penh deputy police chief Prum Sothor said the case had been dropped because the transplants were part of a legal training program involving Chinese doctors, a claim the Chinese embassy challenged.

Rainsy said that his party plans to question “relevant government officials and the Ministry of Health” to “establish the truth”.

Police, who claimed the previous investigation was based on a “Facebook complaint”, said they would treat the allegations on Rainsy’s post just as seriously, but called for official complaints to be made.

“If there [are allegations] please tell me, I will bring them to questioning, I will investigate,” said Keo Thea, bureau chief of the Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Office.

But Rainsy said he believed the previous investigation was not carried out properly.

“The denials were not convincing at all,” he said, adding that the case “must be entrenched in interests”.

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