Two Vietnamese nationals appeared at Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday on charges of procuring prostitution for allegedly running a brothel out of a coffee shop in the capital’s Daun Penh district.
Chang Ty Hok, 35, and 23-year-old Un Samnang were arrested on Street 63 in Daun Penh’s Chaktomuk commune in October by police who discovered 25 Vietnamese prostitutes at the scene.
Un Samnang, who also holds a Cambodian identification card, told the court that although he had accepted US$80 to allow the coffee shop’s proprietors to rent the facility under his name, he was not involved in the sale of sex. An elderly Khmer Krom woman named Ky Nang was responsible for the criminal activity, he said.
Judge Suos Sam Ath swiftly rejected this testimony.
“Don’t deny this and put the blame on another person called Ky Nang when there’s no one with this name,” he said.
“Based on the confessions of more than 20 Vietnamese women, it was you who served as the boss of this coffee shop and who collected half the money when the women served sex to customers for $5.”
Chang Ty Hok also denied the allegations against her, saying she had only worked as a cleaner at the coffee shop. Suos Sam Ath, however, said these statements were not credible.
“Don’t deny this, because several prostitutes told police that you always collected 10,000 riels from them on behalf of Un Samnang every time they had a customer,” Suos Sam Ath said. “You were their madam.”
In written testimony read out by a court clerk yesterday, one Vietnamese woman said she had been lured to Cambodia by the promise of a job at the coffee shop earning $50 per month. She said she was then forced to become a prostitute, serving four to five customers each day and giving half her earnings to the shop’s owners.
Another woman said in her written testimony that she had come to the shop voluntarily to work as a prostitute.
Suos Sam Ath said a verdict would be announced on August 12.