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Trafficking suspect to be questioned in Battambang court

A 35-YEAR-OLD man arrested in Battambang province this week on human trafficking allegations was due to appear in court for questioning Thursday evening, officials said.

Police say Chum Chong is believed to have been behind the illegal transportation of at least 80 people into Thailand, where they were reportedly given jobs as day labourers.

Pich Saraen, police chief for Battambang’s Sampov Loun district, said police had been investigating Chum Chong “for several months” before arresting him on Tuesday evening while he was allegedly driving six adults and three children, aged between 1 and 4 years, to the Thai border.

“My police officers ambushed and arrested the suspect while he was taking nine victims and preparing them to illegally cross over the Cambodia-
Thailand border,” Pich Saraen said.

“The suspect confessed that he had sent more than 80 people to work as labourers on 15 different occasions, but the police believe he has done even more than this,” he added.

My police officers ambushed and arrested the suspect [on tuesday evening].

Pich Saraen said Chum Chong reported having transported both adults and children in groups of between six and 10 to a Thai broker who waited at the border, and that he had received a combined total of between 1,200 and 1,600 Thai baht (US$48) for each person.
Court appearance
Provincial police Chief Sor Thet said Chum Chong was due to appear in provincial court late Thursday evening, where he was to face questioning in connection with possible charges under the 2008 Law on the Suppression of Human Trafficking.

“We have sent the suspect late this evening for further investigation of the primary charge of illegal cross-border transfer of persons under the Law on the Suppression of Human Trafficking,” Sor Thet said.

As for the nine people Chum Chong was allegedly attempting to drive to the border at the time of his arrest, Pich Saraen said they had been “re-educated” and returned to their home villages in Sampov Lun district.

The “re-education”, he said, had consisted primarily of stark warnings that the majority of Cambodians who head to Thailand to work as labourers either head back with no money or are deported.

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