Three South Korean nationals and one Cambodian man appeared for questioning at Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday after being charged with human trafficking.
Two Korean men, Lee Kang Guk, 16, Ham Young Su, 39, and Korean woman Kan Ji Hee, 42, along with Cambodian Kim Chhay Khim, 39, were arrested on Jan 25 for allegedly trying to traffick a 22-year-old Cambodian woman to South Korea by having her marry one of the suspects, said Keo Thea, deputy police chief of the Municipal Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Unit.
“They prepared a fake wedding,” Keo Thea said on Monday.
“It is against our tradition. We need to crack down on them,” he said.
He said the suspects were believed to have already taken several other Cambodian women to South Korea.
“They have taken some women already to South Korea and there is no information heard about them when married to South Koreans,” Keo Thea said. “And we don’t know whether they were sold or not.”
He said the alleged victim had been brought to the municipal Department of Social Affairs.
Cambodian Kim Chhay Khim denied the trafficking charge against him on Monday.
“I don’t know why police arrested me,” he said. “[The South Korean suspects] said they wanted to marry a Cambodian woman, so I just brought the woman.”
He added that he thought the Koreans had legal approval to marry the woman.
“I didn’t know they would traffick [the woman] to South Korea,” he said.
Lawyer Hak Seakly said his client Ham Young Su’s desire to marry a Cambodian woman was sincere.
“He really wants to marry a Cambodian woman,” he said. “He is not wrong.”