A lawyer representing the owner of the scandal-wracked Chai Hour II Hotel pleaded his client’s innocence Tuesday, saying there is no evidence implicating him in human trafficking.
Lawyer Yin Wengka also appealed to Prime Minister Hun Sen and National Police Commissioner Hok Lundy to find justice for hotel owner Pao Ly, along with the manager of the hotel, Sam Leng, who was arrested and charged earlier this month with human trafficking.
“I would like to propose to the National Police Chief Hok Lundy and Prime Minister Hun Sen, and the court, to give justice to my clients,” Yin Wengka said.
Pao Ly “closed down the massage service after the first case, he is so afraid,” Yin Wengka said. “And later they accused him of human trafficking…. There is no evidence.”
The Chai Hour II was subject to an anti-trafficking raid on Dec 7, when 83 women and girls were removed and taken to a women’s shelter run by the NGO Afesip.
The day after the December raid, the shelter was stormed by a group of men and the women were taken away.
Yin Wengka said Pao Ly, who he said was 35 years old, would not throw away his multimillion dollar hotel and his reputation by becoming involved in selling virgins—as police have alleged was taking place at the hotel.
Yin Wengka added that an arrest warrant has been issued for Pao Ly by Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge Kim Ravy, on accusations of possessing an illegal weapon and conspiracy to traffic persons.
Investigating Judge Kim Ravy declined comment.
Yin Wengka also said video cameras were installed inside the hotel after the Afesip case that prove Pao Ly to be innocent of human trafficking.
Yin Wengka added that he was uncertain of Pao Ly’s whereabouts, but said he often goes to the provinces to do land deals.
In an interview with Radio Free Asia broadcast on Sept 8, Hok Lundy said police were seeking to arrest the owner of the Chai Hour II, and that police had found evidence that women and children were trafficked there.