Two Phnom Penh residents have confessed to trafficking at least 10 people to India for illegal kidney donations following their arrests in separate raids after an ongoing investigation, an official said on Thursday.
Oeu Lak, 38, was arrested in a raid by anti-human trafficking police at her apartment in Pur Senchey district at about 3 p.m. on Wednesday, said Keo Thea, the Phnom Penh unit’s chief, while Lach Hong Meng, 34, was arrested later that day in Chamkar Mon district.
Mr. Hong Meng is accused of being the ringleader of an operation that resulted in at least 10 victims over the last year being trafficked to India, where they undergo the inexpensive operation, he said. The victims, recruited by Ms. Lak, were paid about $5,800 while the two suspects charge ailing patients $40,000 to coordinate the illegal donation, flights and hospital fees, he added.
“The suspects confessed their guilt already, so we will send them to the court for questioning” today, he said, adding that they were being detained at the Phnom Penh municipal anti-human trafficking bureau headquarters.
“According to their answers, there were more than 10 cases,” he said.
He declined to explain the “elaborate” investigation that had led to their arrests for fear of tipping off other criminals, adding that the probe was still ongoing.
Chou Bun Eng, secretary of state at the Interior Ministry and vice chair of the national committee to combat human trafficking, said the police investigation was spurred by reports from the victims.