Couple Get Fifteen Years for Adopting Baby to Beg

A husband and wife were found guilty of human trafficking and sentenced to 15 years in jail on Friday after paying $400 to adopt a baby they planned to take to Malaysia with the sole intention of using it to make money begging.

Heng Chhon, 48, and his wife Sam Nang, 38, were detained in Poipet City along with two other children and another man in November 2013 as they were attempting to cross the border on their way to Malaysia.

The couple’s lawyer, Chuong Choungy, called the sentencing an “injustice” and said the pair plans to appeal.

“There is no law to convict somebody of adoption and receive this serious sentence,” Mr. Choungy said Sunday.

“If they did not take the baby with them who would look after her when the family leaves to beg in Malaysia?” he asked.

During an earlier hearing, Keo Thea, chief of the municipal anti-human trafficking police, told the court that the couple had a history of trafficking vulnerable people to Malaysia to make money begging.

Presiding Judge Taing Sun Lay said on Friday that the couple has 30 days to appeal the verdict.

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