A suspected human trafficker was sent to Banteay Meanchey Provincial Court for questioning yesterday after being arrested for allegedly smuggling Cambodians into Thailand, police said. Her family accused the police of entrapment in order to demand money.
Nang Sav, 49, was arrested Tuesday evening at her Poipet City home for allegedly taking 1,500 Thai baht, or about $46, from two men in exchange for helping them cross the border, said Sith Luos, provincial police chief of the anti-human trafficking bureau.
According to Mr Luos, the suspect is a ringleader who has helped an untold number of Cambodians cross the border in the past year.
But the suspect’s family this week argued against such claims. Ms Sav’s daughter-in-law, Men Sreykeo, filed complaints with local rights groups, saying that police had detained Ms Sav seeking money for her release. “My mother-in-law is not a human trafficker,” she said by phone yesterday.
According to Ms Sreykeo, two men stopped at their house and asked for a drink of water. When Ms Sav was out of sight, they gave a relative the 1,500 baht to give her, left the house, and made a phone call at a nearby shop. Shortly thereafter the police arrived and arrested her for taking the money, Ms Sreykeo alleged.
Ms Sav called Ms Sreykeo from police custody and told her the police demanded $5,000 for her release—a figure that was negotiated down to about $3,000, but was still too much for the family .
Mr Luos denied those allegations, saying police instead had enough evidence, victim testimony and witnesses to prove she acted illegally. He noted police have been collecting evidence on her goings-on for some time.
Suom Chankea, provincial coordinator for local rights group Adhoc, said his organization will investigate the case.