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Judge returns China trafficking case to the Appeal Court

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Chin Punleu was brought to the court. Kim Sarom

Judge returns China trafficking case to the Appeal Court

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that the case of a woman sentenced to 15 years in prison for trafficking two Banteay Meanchey women to marry men in China in 2015 should be returned to the Appeal Court.

Presiding Judge Kong Srim read the decision to the courtroom in the absence of the 33-year-old appellant Chin Punleu.

Judge Srim said that after hearing the case on May 29, the Supreme Court concluded that the Appeal Court’s decision was not made in accordance with the law.

“The Supreme Court has decided to overrule the Appeal Court’s verdict and orders the case returned to the Appeal Court,” he said.

Defence lawyer Luy Sothy told The Post on Wednesday that she welcomed the Supreme Court verdict.

“The Supreme Court’s decision was based on legal procedure and hard evidence. This is some justice for my client,” she said.

At the original trial on August 15, 2017, Punleu told the court that a woman named San had visited her at her home when her cousin phoned from China.

Punleu claimed that San said to her that, since she had a relative in China, she would like help in getting two women – who were daughters of another woman called Pheap – to work in China.

She said that after giving San her cousin’s phone number, the two started to communicate.

Pheap then asked Punleu’s cousin to arrange for the two women to fly to China. She said the younger sister returned to Cambodia in 2016 after living in China for 10 months.

However, Pheap, the women’s mother, did not have enough money to pick her up, Punleu said, so she asked an NGO to help take her home. It was then that the NGO filed a lawsuit against Punleu.

Punleu said that San received $2,000, but she did not receive any money herself.

Prosecutor Chum Samban said that during police questioning, the victim said Punleu had received $2,300 from her cousin in China.

The provincial court sentenced her to 15 years in prison and ordered her to pay five million riel ($1,233) to the victim.

Punleu took her case to the Appeal Court, but on March 25 last year the court upheld the original sentence so she filed a complaint at the Supreme Court.

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