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Coffee-shop duo in hot water

Two Vietnamese nationals were convicted and sentenced to five years in prison yesterday for operating a brothel under the guise of a coffee shop in the capital’s Daun Penh district.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court judge Kor Vandy said 38-year-old Bin Bunthy and 52-year-old Nguven Thisi had been tried last month.

“The court has found them guilty, so it has decided to sentence them to a five-year imprisonment each. They have the right to appeal their sentences to the Court of Appeals if they do not accept them,” he said.

The couple were arrested in May this year after police raided their Srah Chak commune coffee shop, where they rented rooms to commercial sex workers. “They opened a coffee shop, but it was illegally operating as a place to provide sex services,” Kor Vandy said.

The judge added that four young Vietnamese women under the age of 20 were rescued in the police raid and sent to the Ministry of Social Affairs for rehabilitation and education. They were ultimately deported back to Vietnam, he said.

Neither Bin Bunthy nor Nguven Thisi could be reached for comment yesterday. However, during last month’s trial, Bin Bunthy said he was innocent.

“I only sell coffee to customers in my shop. There are no sex services. I haven’t done anything against the law. I would like to ask the court to drop all charges against me,” he said.

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