Three women were tried by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday on charges of attempting to sell two underage girls overseas as brides to Taiwanese men earlier this year.
Presiding judge Kim Dany said defendants Eav Seng Lay, 45, Mey Sina, 40, and Ry Saray, 28, were charged not only with “selling, buying or exchanging a person”, but also with falsifying public documents to make the 16- and 17-year-old girls appear to be of legal age.
“They were arrested when they brought the victims to make their passports – in order to prepare them to go get married with Taiwanese men in Taiwan – at the passport police department in Phnom Penh,” Dany said.
Lieutenant Colonel Keo Thea, chief of the Phnom Penh Municipal Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Police, said the three accused had allegedly emailed the girls’ photos to prospective husbands in Taiwan. After Taiwanese men had agreed to marry the girls, brokers allegedly forged birth certificates making the girls appear to be 22 years old.
During their trial, the three suspects confessed to the charges, saying they had been promised a commission of $50 per bride from a Chinese man named Chhin Teu Chhoeng – who is still at large – and asked the court to drop the charges against them. Verdicts will be handed down on July 18.