A Cambodian woman charged with human trafficking has claimed she was approached by the alleged victims who asked for help finding Chinese husbands.
In the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday, Hak Sinat, 48, denied the allegations while four other suspects – Srun Chanda, Nuth Sokly, Chhim Sotheavy and Limm Chheng Ngim – denied being accomplices. All were arrested September 29 last year.
Sinat, who told the court her daughter had previously married in China, said: “[The victims] came to me for help to go to China because they are poor.”
Chanda – who was arrested with two of the alleged victims at a bus station headed for China – said she was doing the women a favour. She had married a Chinese man the previous year and returned to Cambodia to visit her elderly father. “They called me a few days before my departure and told me they wanted to go along with me back to China.”.
Sokly, meanwhile, said he was merely a motodop driver who ferried the victims to the markets and to make passports, while Sotheavy also denied involvement, although her police testimony indicated she brought two 23-year-old potential brides to Sinat. Ngim, Sinat’s son, admitted to writing loan contracts between Sinat and victims.
According to police testimony, the three victims – Van Pisey, Van Pheakkdey and Suon Pov who were not present in court – said they had approached Sinat asking for passage to China to marry Chinese men. However, Pov told police Sinat offered $100 per referral of anyone looking to marry Chinese men, with $500 paid to the bride-to-be.
The accused face two to five years in prison. A verdict is due on May 16.