Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Organ traffickers’ arrested



‘Organ traffickers’ arrested

Lach Hong Meng (left), 34, was questioned by Anti-Human trafficking and Juvenile Protection authorities yesterday for alleged kidney trafficking to India. Facebook
Lach Hong Meng (left), 34, was questioned by Anti-Human trafficking and Juvenile Protection authorities yesterday for alleged kidney trafficking to India. Facebook

‘Organ traffickers’ arrested

Two people have been arrested in Cambodia for allegedly “trafficking organs” during a year-long operation involving at least 10 victims and frequent trips to India, officials said yesterday.

Keo Thea, director of the Anti-Trafficking Office in Phnom Penh, said the two suspects, Lach Hong Meng, 34, and Heng Lat, 38, were arrested on Wednesday after acting as brokers and offering victims $5,800 for their kidneys.

One by one, the victims were flown to India with a Cambodian patient and the transplant was performed. Documents were faked to make the donors look like relatives of the kidney recipients, Thea said. Thea said Hong Meng was considered the mastermind of the operation, while Lat was employed to seek out and convince donors.

The pair will be sent to court today and face charges related to organ trafficking and the possession of fraudulent documents.

Last July, the National Assembly adopted a law banning commercial organ transplants in a bid to curb trafficking in the so-called “red market” trade.

Chy Tith, chief of the hemodialysis department at Preah Ket Mealea Hospital, said people with only one remaining kidney needed to be “very, very careful”.

“When they fall ill, for example, with high blood pressure or urinary problems, it’s very hard for one kidney to absorb all the [toxins in the blood],” Tith said.

Chandu Bhandari, regional adviser at the UN Office of Drugs and Crime, said while he couldn’t comment specifically on this case, it was “important to note that organ trafficking and human trafficking for organ removal are different [but] frequently confused”.

He said trafficking humans for organ removal could occur when people were forced or deceived to give up an organ, when they agree to sell an organ but were cheated or when people had organs removed without their knowledge.

In 2015, organ traffickers got between 10 and 15 years in jail for persuading at least three Cham men to sell kidneys.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Businesses in capital told to get travel permit amid lockdown through One Window Service

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has issued guidelines on how to get travel permission for priority groups during the lockdown of Phnom Penh, directing private institutions to apply through the municipality's One Window Service and limit their staff to a mere two per cent. In

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting