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Mother mourns her three lost children

Mother mourns her three lost children

The mother of two Cambodian fishermen, who were yesterday referred to the Malaysian High Court to face charges of murder and attempted murder, said she believes they will both be executed and has pledged to sell her farm to pay anyone who can help.

Kao Keas, a 51-year-old widow from Siem Bok district in Stung Treng province, said yesterday she had now lost three children in Malaysia. Her daughter disappeared more than two years ago while working for a labour firm and her sons Arifin and Kadir Salleh are charged with the murder and attempted murder respectively of a Thai fishing boat captain Phat Phetpuk on March 27.

“I am advertising to sell my three hectares of land for about US$2,500 and will give the money to anyone who can get my sons out of the prison and bring them back,” she said. “I am willing to sell the land and live wherever in order to help them back home.”

Arifin Salleh’s wife, Math Kori Ah, added yesterday she was shocked by the news of her husband’s arrest and was still waiting to hear from him.

“I hope that the court just imprisons him and doesn’t sentence him to death,” she said.

Yesterday, the two brothers appeared a Kuala Terengganu Magistrates Court. Aegile Fernandez, anti-human trafficking coordinator of Malaysia-based rights group Tenaganita, said that the case was referred to Malaysian High Court. A hearing is due on June 26.

Fernandez has previously said crew members had alleged that during the scuffle between Phat Petpuk and Kadir Salleh, Arifin Salleh had cut a rope tethering the captain to the boat. He then fell overboard and drowned, they claimed.

Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign affairs, said yesterday embassy officials in Malaysia had now secured legal representation for the men.

As for Kao Keas, she had not heard from her 30-year-old daughter Sles Mariyas since she went to Malaysia as a migrant worker with the Philimore Company labour recruitment firm.

“Before my husband died, he went to the Philimore Company in Phnom Penh to ask them about my daughter. The company promised to look for her but since he died about six months ago, we’ve not been able to go back to the company again,” Kao Keas said.

Sok Chanpheakdey, director of Philimore, said yesterday he’d heard of a similar sounding case but couldn’t be sure without detailed information from the family, which he urged them to provide.


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