Three Chinese nationals and two Cambodians were arrested in Phnom Penh on Tuesday for attempting to send a group of four teenage girls to China via Thailand using fake travel documents, according to municipal anti-human trafficking police chief Keo Thea.
The group planned to bring the women to Poipet City, where they were to meet middlemen who would transport them to Bangkok and put them on a plane to China, according to Mr. Thea.
“We caught five people red-handed holding six passports and having rented a car for $90 with plans to transport the four women on the road to Poipet,” Mr. Thea said, believing the suspects likely planned the circuitous route to China due to a spate of similar arrests at the Phnom Penh International Airport recently.
“We confiscated six passports with Chinese visas,” he said, adding that both the passports and visas were fake. “We accused them of attempted trafficking across the border and providing illegal documents.”
Mr. Thea said that police were still questioning the suspects as of last night, following their arrests at about noon.
A police report states that seven people—including the four teenage girls, a taxi driver, a moto-taxi driver and a factory worker—were questioned by police and released.
The five suspects are named as Chinese nationals Xie Teo Sheng, 50; Hu De Hua, 35; and Zhou Yanping, 41, and Cambodians Liv Horn, 53; and Vong Yita, 48.
“Now, the [anti-trafficking] bureau is questioning them and compiling a report to file with the Phnom Penh Municipal Court,” the report says. The four teenage girls, it adds, “have been educated and returned to their homes.”
Both Cambodia and China have noted an increasing rate of Cambodian women traveling to China and ending up in vulnerable situations or abusive relationships.
Rights group Adhoc on Tuesday released a statement saying that yet another Cambodian woman would be returned from China on Thursday after seeking outside help.
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