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‘Traffickers’ tried in bride broker case

Two men leave Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday after being tried on trafficking charges.
Two men leave Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday after being tried on trafficking charges. Niem Chheng

‘Traffickers’ tried in bride broker case

A Cambodian and a Chinese national were tried at municipal court yesterday on trafficking charges after being arrested at Phnom Penh International Airport in December 2014 while allegedly escorting a woman to China to marry.

Defendant Xu Xian Dai, 32, denied the charges yesterday, saying he had just happened to be at the airport buying a ticket home on the day of his arrest, when he was approached by his Cambodian co-defendant Heng Seng, 52, and asked about arranging marriages to Chinese men.

“Heng Seng asked me if there were Chinese men who wanted to marry Cambodian women. If I could find a man, he could find woman,” he said.

Seng offered a differing account, saying he had known Xu for months, and that Xu had promised him $20 to serve as a translator for prospective brides and $300 for each bride that made the journey, including the one they were preparing to send to China.

Phann Phall, an anti-human trafficking police official, testified that Seng was more than just a translator, though prosecutor Ly Sophana requested the court downgrade the charge to “assisting the offenders”.

A verdict is due on August 26.

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