Gov’t Committee Interviews Hotel Workers

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)


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