Municipal Court Acquits Trafficking Suspect

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court acquitted a Vietna­mese woman Monday charged with human trafficking, due to lack of evidence.

Ho Te Seng was charged last January with at­tempting to traffic two Vietnam­ese women to Ma­lay­sia. Jailed since January, Ho Te Seng was released Monday.

“I couldn’t find any evidence to prove that she had made a mistake,” said Municipal Court Judge Kong Sarith.

Ministry of Interior officials, in a report read by the court, stated that Ho Te Seng introduced the two alleged victims to another Vietnamese woman identified only as “Teang.” According to the report, Teang introduced the two alleged victims to a man identified as “Sim,” who offered the two women $1,000 when they arrived in Malaysia.

The women later filed a complaint against Ho Te Seng, saying she tried to convince them to go to Malaysia to work as prostitutes, testified Prum Vutha, deputy director of the Ministry of Interior‘s Anti-Human Trafficking Department.

The women were arrested on Jan 21 by Kandal provincial police while they were driving from Phnom Penh to Poipet, but were not charged and later released after Ministry of Interior officials interviewed them.

The two women left Cambodia and are residing in Vietnam, Prum Vutha said.

Throughout Monday’s trial, Ho Te Seng testified that she was innocent of trafficking and denied she had tried to persuade the women to work as prostitutes.

“I didn’t urge the two girls to go to Malaysia,” she said Monday.

Ho Te Seng, who works in a Daun Penh district coffee shop and gives people cosmetic tattoos, first met the two alleged victims when they approached her for tattoos on their lips, she said.

While she was tattooing the women, they told Ho Te Seng that they wanted to work abroad, Ho Te Seng said. Ho Te Seng testified that she told them that Teang could provide them with passports for their trip to Ma­­laysia.

She also said that she lent them $40 each because she felt sorry for them.

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