8 Taiwanese Accused of Trafficking Freed

Eight Taiwanese men arrested and accused of plotting to marry Cambodian girls and then pimp them in their home country were released this weekend due to lack of evidence, municipal officials said Monday.

The men were repatriated in groups of four on Saturday and Sunday and are barred from re­turning to Cambodia, said Meng Say, chief of the city’s anti-human trafficking office.

“We released them because we had no evidence that they were involved in human trafficking. But they confessed they were looking for Cambodian girls for marriage,” he said.

The men arrived here Wednes­day and stayed at two separate hotels, police said. They were ar­rested the same day at Wat Phnom, Meng Say said.

“We suspected them and their activity in Cambodia,” he said. “Police arrested them for questioning but they had only some karaoke girls with them.”

Taiwanese men in the past have been accused of trafficking in Cam­bo­dian girls, paying for their hands in marriage here and then selling them into prostitution in Taipei.

The suspects arrested last week had come from Vietnam and “told us that they came to Cambodia to find Cambodian girls for marriage, because Viet­namese girls always cheated them,” said Keo Thea, deputy chief of the anti-trafficking office.

The men will not be allowed to return to Cambodia because they sought illegal marriages, both officers said. Marriage to a foreigner must be processed first by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, they said. They also publicly urged parents to insist on legal marriages and not sell their daughters as brides.

“We have educated girls and their parents to follow the state law for marriage,” Meng Say said. He blamed greed, and not poverty, for the willingness of many parents to sell girls into marriage.

A Taiwanese man can pay between $4,000 and $5,000 for a Cambodian bride, Reach Sokhon, chief of municipal judiciary police, said last week.

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