The trial of two Chinese men and three Cambodian women on charges of human trafficking began in the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday after they were arrested in May for allegedly brokering marriages between Cambodian women and prospective grooms in China.
The accused, Chinese nationals Li Xiging, 32, and Wang Houguo, 49, and Cambodians Chhun Lida, 27, Sok Khim, 59, and Duoy Sam Oun, 57, were arrested at Ms. Lida’s rental home in Tuol Kok district during a raid of the house, where police found two 16-year-olds as well as five other women aged between 19 and 21, all of whom police believed were going to be sent to China.
However, Bun Kong, a lawyer for the two Chinese suspects, denied this Monday, saying they were actually looking for a wife for Mr. Xiging.
“Houguo knew Lida and asked her to find a wife for him. When they went to Lida’s house to look at the women, they were arrested,” Mr. Kong said.
Ms. Khim, Ms. Lida’s mother, and Ms. Sam Oun, a relative, both said they were innocently visiting Ms. Lida’s home when they were arrested there.
“It is the first time that I ever came to Phnom Penh, I swear,” Ms. Sam Oun said. “I am very innocent.”
The trial is scheduled to resume on January 28.