Nine of 83 women and girls taken from the Chhai Hour II Hotel during a controversial Dec 7 raid by anti-trafficking police were interviewed on Tuesday by the inter-ministerial committee charged with investigating the case, their lawyer said.
Yin Wengka, the lawyer representing the 83, said that the officials conducting the interviews at the Municipal Department of Social Affairs in Chamkar Mon district, were all women themselves.
However, the nine interviewees gave written rather than spoken answers, Yin Wengka said.
A group of nine were also interviewed the day before, he said.
The inter-ministerial committee was set-up in the aftermath of the hotel raid and the Dec 8 attack on the Afesip women’s shelter during which the 83 women and girls were removed.
Around six of the women and girls were seen waiting outside the interview room on Tuesday. They were seen accompanied by Kim Song, who identifies himself as the hotel’s accountant, and Teap Sotheary, the hotel’s massage manager.
Following questioning, the women and girls were herded into a Ministry of Social Affairs van, accompanied by Teap Sotheary.
Several of the female employees, who are now back at work at the hotel, told reporters they had denied being sex workers during questioning by the committee.
Mu Sochua, former minister of women’s affairs, asked Tuesday why the Ministry of Social Affairs allowed hotel staff to accompany the female employees to the department for questioning.
She added that the presence of hotel staff outside the interview room invalidated any testimony given by the females.
“How can you make sure the women [can] really say…what they want to say?” Mu Sochua asked.
Adding to the woes of the scandal-stricken Chhai Hour II Hotel, a drunk customer stepped out of the hotel on Sunday night and opened fire on a parked car with a hand gun, said Thea Kea, Tuol Kok district military police chief.
The man shot the car three times, smashing its windscreen, rear window and denting the door, then fired several shots in the air at 11:30 pm, Thea Kea said.
(Reporting by Prak Chan Thul, William Shaw and Saing Soenthrith)