Phnom Penh Municipal Court charged three men with pimping, debauchery and human trafficking Sunday following a police raid on the Leang Hour Hotel in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kok district, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
The ministry identified the three men as hotel owner Te Pao Ly, 36, general manager Som Leang, 58, and Em Marady, 36, a hotel manager. All three were sent to Prey Sar prison Sunday after being arrested the previous evening, the statement said.
Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said the Leang Hour Hotel is located at the same site and is under the same ownership as the notorious Chai Hour II Hotel.
In December 2004, anti-trafficking police and the NGO Afesip had raided the Chai Hour II, removing more than 80 women and girls and taking them to an Afesip shelter.
The following day, about 30 men forced open the gates of the shelter and removed the females, who were never returned. The US State Department subsequently downgraded Cambodia to the bottom of its anti-human trafficking global watchdog list, though it has since been upgraded. The Chai Hour II was subsequently closed.
Te Pao Ly was sentenced to five years in prison in February 2006 for collusion with human traffickers and illegal possession of a handgun at the Chai Hour II, officials said at the time. Som Leang was given a four-year sentence for collusion with human traffickers. But both men were subsequently released by the Appeals Court due to a lack of evidence, Khieu Sopheak said.
“They did not learn their lesson,” Khieu Sopheak claimed. “They commit the same occupation.”
Khieu Sopheak said that the Leang Hour Hotel had about 100 female prostitutes inside, four of whom said they had been forced into sex. Chhay Sinarith, director of the Interior Ministry’s information department, said the four have been sent to an Afesip shelter.
Sao Chhoeurth, Afesip technical coordinator, said Sunday morning that he was expecting the women’s arrival.