Nine Bangladeshi men have been released from the clutches of a suspected human trafficker after they were allegedly locked in a room at a Phnom Penh bar for up to two months, extorted and given just one meal a day.
Major General Uk Hai Sela, head of investigation at the General Department of Immigration, said 14 foreigners were taken into custody on Saturday after a raid on Euro Bar at Phnom Penh’s Sorya Mall.
The bar owner, Alo Mannirul, 36, also from Bangladesh, has been accused of extorting $4,500 from each of the nine victims after promising to secure them jobs in a third country.
He then allegedly detained them in the room and demanded an extra $1,000 from their families.
Two Pakistani men, a Filipino woman and an Iranian man who had been taken into police custody were yesterday expected to be released as police did not believe they were involved.
Police were alerted to the plot when one victim was allowed to attend a mosque and notified the authorities.
Hai Sela said Mannirul was due to face court but had not confessed, instead claiming to be a victim.
Dy Thehoya, a program officer at the labour rights group Central, said Bangladeshi nationals being trafficked was not unusual.
“So many foreigners are kept in Cambodia and transferred to third countries; Cambodia is a border crossing for trafficking,” he said.