A Cambodian and a Chinese national were tried at municipal court yesterday on trafficking charges after being arrested at Phnom Penh International Airport in December 2014 while allegedly escorting a woman to China to marry.
Defendant Xu Xian Dai, 32, denied the charges yesterday, saying he had just happened to be at the airport buying a ticket home on the day of his arrest, when he was approached by his Cambodian co-defendant Heng Seng, 52, and asked about arranging marriages to Chinese men.
“Heng Seng asked me if there were Chinese men who wanted to marry Cambodian women. If I could find a man, he could find woman,” he said.
Seng offered a differing account, saying he had known Xu for months, and that Xu had promised him $20 to serve as a translator for prospective brides and $300 for each bride that made the journey, including the one they were preparing to send to China.
Phann Phall, an anti-human trafficking police official, testified that Seng was more than just a translator, though prosecutor Ly Sophana requested the court downgrade the charge to “assisting the offenders”.
A verdict is due on August 26.