Hotel Accused of Human Trafficking Reopens

The scandal-stricken Chai Hour II Hotel reopened for business Saturday after it was temporarily closed following a Dec 26 shooting in front of the premises, Deputy Tuol Kok district Gov­ernor Seng Ratana said Sun­day.

The hotel, which has been ac­cused by the Ministry of In­terior’s Anti-Trafficking Depart­ment of operating a large-scale human traf­ficking operation, was closed Dec 30 after a man opened fire on a car parked outside, Seng Ratana said.

“The hotel reopened [Satur­day] night after the owner accepted his mistake” and took respon­si­bility for the customer’s behavior, Seng Ra­tana said. “If the hotel disrespects the rule of Phnom Penh Mun­i­cipality again, the Municipal­ity will not permit it to do business.”

Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuk­­tema had ordered the hotel closed while district police investigated the shooting and gave permission to district authorities for the hotel to reopen, Seng Ratana said.

Kep Chuktema’s phone was turned off Sunday.

Pao Ly, who owns the hotel, did not answer repeated phone calls seek­ing comment Sunday.

Police are still looking for the gun­man and three men who were with him at the scene, Mun­i­cipal Police Chief Heng Pov said on Sunday.

“We must find them,” Heng Pov said.

The government-licensed ho­tel was raided by anti-trafficking po­lice in conjunction with a court official and the anti-trafficking NGO Afesip on Dec 7, after a de­partment investigation found that virgins were allegedly being trafficked and sold there.

Following the raid, 83 women and girls were taken from the ho­tel to a women’s shelter run by Afesip but were removed from the shelter Dec 8 after its gate was attacked by about 30 people.

The US State Department on Dec 10 called on the government to take immediate action to locate and rescue the women and girls and to bring the perpetrators to justice.

No one is in custody for the ho­tel’s alleged involvement in hu­man trafficking or for participating in the raid on Afesip.

Ho­tel man­agement says the women and girls are now back at work.


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