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Man accused of selling girls

PHNOM Penh Municipal Court has ordered a South African man to serve pretrial detention after charging him with selling two Vietnamese women to a brothel in Thailand after promising them South African visas, a police official said yesterday.

Blaka Mogamata Tape, 61, was arrested on Saturday in Daun Penh district after the mother of the two girls, aged 28 and 24, said they had called her from a brothel in Bangkok where they were being held against their will. In a complaint to police, the mother accused Tape of selling them to the brothel.

Phnom Penh deputy police chief Sok Khemarin said Tape had been charged with unlawful removal for cross-border transfer, a crime that carries a prison term of between seven and 15 years.

Yesterday, Preah Sihanouk provincial court heard the case against a Frenchman charged with unlawful removal with purpose and unlawful recruitment for exploitation in connection with the alleged abuse of two underage boys in Sihanoukville in 2008.

Roger Michel Blanchard, 44, was first arrested in August 2008 on suspicion of abusing five Cambodian boys aged 11 to 16 in Sihanoukville. The provincial court sentenced him to one year in prison after finding him guilty of abusing one of the boys, and the Appeal Court in February lengthened that sentence to one year and seven months.

He was released earlier this year, and is serving pretrial detention in connection with the ongoing case.

Peng Maneth, a lawyer provided to the victims by child protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants, said Blanchard pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, both of which carry sentences of between seven and 15 years. A verdict is expected October 4.



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