Trafficker Guilty Again; Jail Time Unchanged

A Taiwanese woman who was convicted in April of trafficking 179 Cambodians onto fishing boats—where they were held, beaten and denied pay—was found guilty Wednesday of trafficking her 180th victim, though no jail time was added to her 10-year sentence.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court Judge Kor Vandy said that the case, brought by Thean Udom, would be packaged with the initial case, which has proceeded to the Appeal Court.

“By law, all these cases will be included in one case,” Judge Vandy said. He ordered $600 in forgone wages and $2,000 in compensation be paid to Mr. Udom.

Lin Yu Shin, 54, and five Taiwanese men, who remain at large, tricked as many as 1,000 Cambodians into signing up with Giant Ocean International Fishing Co., a recruitment agency registered with the Ministry of Labor until it was shut down in 2012.

Giant Ocean promised to pay the fishermen’s wages to their families while they completed their two-year contracts, but once at sea, they lost all contact with home and could not be alerted that no wages were forthcoming and that Giant Ocean had been shut down.

Aside from Ms. Lin, the only trace of the business that remains is a $100,000 surety that under law should have been paid to the Ministry of Labor upon registration of Giant Ocean.

At a workshop last month for judicial officials, victims and their lawyers, Ith Rady, a secretary of state at the Justice Ministry, said that it was the duty of the plaintiffs to apply to the court to freeze the $100,000, which ostensibly remains in the National Bank.

Contacted Wednesday, Mom Sokchar, program officer for Legal Support for Children and Women, which provided legal aid to the Giant Ocean victims, said he had yet to apply for the money to be frozen.

“Why should we need to ask the court to freeze the money?” Mr. Sokchar asked.

“That money is in a government account and, secondly, the Ministry of Labor is well aware of the case so there should be no way that the money is released to anyone.”

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