Four Found Guilty in Absentia in Chinese Bride Trafficking Case

Four people received prison sentences ranging from two to 10 years in absentia on Friday for their roles in attempting to traffic three sisters and another woman to be brides in China.

Presiding Judge Ly Sokleng did not explain why the defendants—who are being detained at Phnom Penh’s Prey Sar prison—did not attend the sentencing, but at a previous hearing three of the suspects were tried in absentia after their lawyer said they were unable to attend due to health problems.

“The Phnom Penh Municipal Court decided to sentence Chan Sokkhim, 46, to 10 years in prison” for unlawful recruitment for exploitation, Judge Sokleng said.

Judge Y Thavrak announced that Khim Chantrea, 23, his mother Bun Sim, 60, and his aunt Bun Hour, 56, were sentenced to two years in prison, with a year suspended.

They were also ordered to pay about $1,000 each to the victims.

The court previously said they had been charged with receipt of a person for the purpose of assisting the offender.

During the trial earlier this month, Kean Ny, 28, described how Ms. Sokkhim came to her hometown in Kompong Thom province last June with the promise that she and her sisters would earn $500 per month as housekeepers in Singapore.

However, she learned they were being trafficked while in Vietnam and then fled after a fifth suspect—who has not been arrested—told her over the telephone that the sisters and the third woman should take “one husband together” if they did not want to be separated.

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