The Appeal Court on Monday heard the plea for a reduced sentence from a mother jailed for five years for aiding her daughter in attempts to get two Cambodian women to travel to China for marriage in 2017.
The appellant said that with her in prison there was no one to take care of her other three children.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced the mother and daughter to five years and seven years in prison respectively, with the younger woman tried in absentia.
Korm Py, 53, told the judge that her daughter, Chorm Nay, had married a Chinese man and was living in China. She said her daughter had encountered no problems in China and sometimes visited Cambodia.
She said that in April 2017, two female neighbours aged 20 and 25 told her that they would also like to get married and move to China. Later the same month, Korm Py helped them get passports and arranged for them to stay at a guesthouse near Phnom Penh International Airport.
Korm Py then visited the young women’s houses located in the capital’s Meanchey district and was accused by one of their mothers of tricking her daughter to move to China and called the police.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court found Py and her daughter guilty of Unlawful Removal for Cross-border Transfer under Article 11 of the Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation, and articles 27, 93, 94 of the Criminal Code. The court ordered police to find and arrest the daughter.
“I tried to help the two victims get passports. I told the victims I was worried about the police, but they told me not to be because they wanted to do it. I agreed to help them. They promised to pay me $100 each. I have not received payment yet, but the police arrested me."
“I know what I did was illegal. I would like to ask the court to reduce my sentence because I have three children, with no one taking care of them,” she said.
Prosecutor Chum Sensothea said: “According to her confession she is guilty, and the decision of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court was made properly. I ask the Appeal Court to uphold the verdict.”
Py’s defence lawyer Lim Eng Ratanak said his client had confessed before the court, but she did not know at the time that what she had done was wrong.
“I asked the court to reduce her sentence because she needs to raise her children,” Ratanak said.
Around half an hour into the hearing, Presiding Judge Yeith Molin called a halt to proceedings and said the court would announce its verdict on March 27.