A Chinese national and three Cambodians faced Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday on charges of attempting to traffic three women to China.
Chinese citizen Cao Wuhua, 42, was arrested on September 9 last year alongside Ky Chheang Ang, 60, his wife Srey Hour, 57, and Im Hieb, 60, all from Takeo.
The four were allegedly caught in a guesthouse preparing to escort three women to the airport, where they would board a flight to China, the court heard.
Only one of the women, Vong Sokny, has persisted in her complaint against the foursome. The others, Ouch Sophal and Soy Chanthou, withdrew their complaints, saying they had intended to travel to China to get married of their own free will.
Wuhua denied all accusations put to him by the judge and prosecutor yesterday, saying he knew nothing about the case and had been sleeping at his hotel when he was arrested.
Chheang Ang said he was not a human trafficker but simply a motodop who had been paid $20 a trip by Wuhua to transport four women to the airport, adding that he met the Chinese national at a beer garden and had eaten with him on several occasions.
His wife, Hour, also denied all charges.
“On September 8, when I returned home from picking my child up from school, I saw Wuhua taking photos of the three girls,” Hour said.
“My husband and Im Hieb were there also.”
She added that she took the alleged victims for a meal.
Hieb said that she escorted two of the alleged victims from Takeo to Phnom Penh to meet Chheang Ang and Hour, adding that she was promised $300 for finding a groom for each.
The verdict is due on July 7.
Meanwhile, the Phnom Penh court yesterday sentenced another woman, Nai Theary, 24, to five years jail on bride trafficking charges while freeing her husband, Kuy Toma.
The pair were arrested at Phnom Penh International Airport in September last year in the company of two women on their way to China.
The court heard on May 19 that neither of the women had directly accused Theary, with one describing her as a long-time friend and the other giving the name of the woman who invited her to travel to China for marriage as Nang.