Court Hears of Chinese Marriage Traffickers

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday heard the case of three people who were charged with fraudulently obtaining passports for four Cambodian women in an attempt to send them to China for marriage.

Mak Heangrithy, 32, Tiang Saroeun, 46, and Yi Lao, 65, were arrested at Phnom Penh International Airport in November after they roused suspicion when Mr. Heangrithy handed over four passports on behalf of the victims. 

Keo Thea, chief of the municipal anti-human trafficking police, said upon investigating the case it was found that two of the suspects were only 16 and 17 years old, be-low China’s legal marital age of 20.

“Mr. Heangrithy changed the age of the passports from 16 and 17 to 23 before their departure,” he said.

Although Mr. Heangrithy admitted to making a business of sending Cambodian women to China, he denied altering passports. If found guilty, the suspects could face six months to two years in prison and a fine from 4 million to 10 million riel ($1,000 to $2,500).

The court will hand down the verdict on April 23.

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