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Five face child-sex charges

PHNOM Penh municipal Court yesterday heard the case against five people charged in relation to purchasing child prostitution from four underage girls in January of this year.

Cambodian, Choeung Sok Choeun, 40, was arrested January 25 from the Chhouk Tep II hotel and charged with being an accomplice to purchasing child prostitution. He faces between seven and 15 years in prison if found guilty.

Vietnamese nationals Ngiv Thec Lok, 22, Leng Chiva, 38, and Ngieng Chi Tech, 40, and Cambodian Ly Yang Chea, 29, were arrested and charged with procuring child prostitution. If found guilty, each faces between two and five years in prison.

Leng Chiva’s lawyer Touch Chhay said all five defendants denied the charges against them during the closed-door hearing yesterday. He said all five rented a house together but did not procure child sex.

But Sek Saroeun, a lawyer provided to the victims by the International Justice Mission, said the five accused were “a network” and that there was evidence they provided underage girls to foreigners at the house and assorted hotels.

Presiding Judge Ker Sakhorn said a verdict would be announced on December 9.

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