Kampot Provincial Court sent two suspects accused of trafficking people across the border from Vietnam to pre-trial detention and returned four Vietnamese nationals to their home country.
On March 14, Takeo provincial police arrested one broker with four Vietnamese. The other broker involved in the case was arrested in Kampot’s Kampong Trach district, after they smuggled Vietnamese into Cambodia by boat at the Prek Chak international border checkpoint.
The brokers, Chea Sovannary, or Chen, is a 30-year-old taxi driver who drove guests to the Prek Chak Casino. He lives in lives in Krasaing village, Chhouk district’s Chhouk commune. The other, Neang Kheng, or Behan, is a 58-year-old woman who took cigarettes to Vietnam to sell. She comes from Kroes village, Kampong Trach district’s Prek Kroes commune; according to provincial police chief Mao Chanmathurith.
Chanmathurith told The Post on March 15 that after the arrest, prosecutors issued a pre-trial detention order, and provincial authorities sent the case to court for further action. The two suspects were kept in the provincial prison.
He added that we have returned the Vietnamese, who illegally crossed the border, back to their country on March 14.
“We accused them with human trafficking because they smuggled Vietnamese workers across the border. We have questioned them. They said they have brought people across the border illegally three or four times already. Vietnamese who crossed the border illegally intended to work as construction workers in our country,” he said.
According to Chanmathurith, in addition to taking action against the suspects, provincial authorities are also cooperating with Vietnamese authorities to arrest brokers and accomplices who are hiding in Vietnam.
“On the Cambodian side, we have been able to prevent it. On the Vietnamese side, we have contacted authorities to locate more suspects hiding in Vietnam. Normally, these brokers contact each other so they can work together to bring people across the border illegally. Without this network, they cannot do it,” he said.
Yun Phally, Kep-Kampot provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said that in the current Covid-19 outbreak, the borders of both countries were closed. If these brokers continue to smuggle people across the border, others are put at risk and strict measures must be taken.
He hopes that the authorities will continue to take further action, especially at border checkpoints that were not properly guarded.
“There is also negligence involved with preventing people crossing the border illegally. Brokers want to avoid authorities when taking people from one country to another. Smugglers look for unmanned checkpoints. This is seen as an opportunity to bring people across,” he said.