The Court of Appeal yesterday upheld the 2010 human trafficking conviction of the mother of legendary Cambodian kickboxer Ei Phouthang, ordering her to serve out the remainder of her 17-year prison sentence.
While the jail time would remain in place, said presiding judge Ngoun Im, the court would lower the amount of monetary compensation that Ath Onn, 59, had been ordered pay after being found guilty of cross-border human-trafficking offences committed in 2007.
“The Appeal Court has decided to uphold the Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s verdict, but the compensation has been decreased from 60 million riel [about $15,000] to 15 million riel; everything else remains the same,” Im said. “The suspect can forward the case to the Supreme Court if the suspect disagrees with the decision.”
Though Onn was originally convicted and sentenced in absentia in 2010, she was retried in October of 2012 after her arrest that June.
At her re-trial, Judge Sous Sam Ath said that Onn had persuaded a young deaf woman to go to Thailand to live and work as a maid with Onn’s sister.
Instead of working as a maid, however, the victim was raped, forced into sex slavery at a karaoke parlour, impregnated and ultimately forced to give up her infant son.
During the retrial, the victim denied Onn’s claims that the victim had been pregnant when they met, maintaining that she had both gotten pregnant and given birth in Thailand, only to have her baby taken and sold for $163, about $65 of which she was allowed to keep.