A Frenchman was charged yesterday, May 20, with pimping by the Phnom Penh
Zerinini Hassen, 49, was questioned for three hours
about his ownership of the Le Cyrcée Club, in Street 49, before prosecutor Nget
Sarath decided to charge him.
Hassen was charged under article four and
five of the law covering kidnapping, trafficking and exploitation of human
beings, said a clerk for the prosecutor (who did not want to be named).
Pimping carries a sentence of five to ten years imprisonment.
The clerk said the case had been passed on to investigating judge Nup
Sophon, and Hassen remained at the court while questioning continued into the
Hassen was arrested on May 18 near Hawaii Hotel in Daun Penh
district by the municipal anti-trafficking police, after two former staff filed
complaints against him.
Aarti Kapoor, legal advisor to anti-trafficking
NGO Afesip, said the two women came to the organization around two weeks ago,
saying that Hassen had forced them to do things against their will.
Kapoor said the two women, aged 22 and 23, had agreed to work as
prostitutes but left after a dispute with Hassen.
The prosecutor's clerk
told reporters that Hassen had denied that his bar operated as a brothel, saying
the women were just angry because he dismissed them.
Keo Thea, deputy
chief of the municipal police anti-trafficking bureau, said Zerinini Hassen came
to Cambodia in 2000 and opened Le Cyrc ée Club more than one year ago in Daun
Thea said Hassen told him the bar employed four or five
waiters and waitresses who were paid from $80 to $100 a month, and that other
staff worked on a freelance basis selling sexual services.
the case could set an important precedent for foreign business owners but feared
Hassen could be released without a thorough investigation.