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Court tries trafficker trio

Three suspects were tried in absentia at Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday for allegedly attempting to traffic three villagers to Thailand in 2012, with the scheme ultimately resulting in the victims being defrauded of $1,530.

The accused, Kong Hey, Mey Srey Thea and Teung Sambath, each face seven to 15 years in prison if found guilty.

Thai Buntheoun, 37, one of the three victims, yesterday said in court that he and his wife, Choy Chek, 37, and his brother-in-law, Choy Cheat, 33, each paid $510 to Hey, who claimed to work at recruitment firm Top Manpower Co Ltd in 2012. He said Hey promised to take them to Thailand to find work.

Bun Hak, general manager at Top Manpower, denied the accused were his employees. He said if they are found guilty, his company may consider filing a lawsuit against them for harming his company’s reputation.

The victims have demanded $3,000 in compensation.

Defence attorney Lay Longdy yesterday questioned the court’s procedure, insisting that only one of the accused had even been summonsed.

The verdict is due September 26.

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