Five people were tried by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday for allegedly trafficking seven Cambodian females – two of whom were under the age of 16 – into arranged marriages in China last year.
Presiding judge Svay Tonh identified the defendants as Chinese nationals Wang Houguo, 49, and Li Xiging, 32; their translator, Chhun Lida, 22; Lida’s mother, Sok Khim, 59; and Duoy Sam Oun, 57, a farmer in Kratie province.
“They have illegally selected girls from poor families in the provinces with the aim of sending them to marry Chinese men in China,” Tonh said.
The five were charged with the attempted act of selling, buying or exchanging a person with intent, and with providing fake documents due to the allegation that they falsified the two 16-year-old girls’ ages on their passports.
Municipal anti-human trafficking police chief Keo Thea said that the five were arrested in the capital last February as they were preparing to take the women to the airport.
Defendants Khim and Sam Oun maintained their innocence, saying they had come to Phnom Penh to find work.
The hearing will continue on January 28.