Radio caller helps cops bust kidney traffickers

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Lach Hong Meng (left) and Eu Lat after being taken into custody by authorities. SUPPLIED

Phnom Penh authorities on Wednesday arrested a man and a woman for running an illicit kidney trafficking syndicate.
 
Deputy anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection bureau chief Than Phanith said officials were made aware of the pair’s operation after a woman called a local radio station and spoke of the syndicate during a live broadcast.
 
Eu Lat, 38, was arrested in Por Senchey district’s Choam Chao commune while Lach Hong Meng, 34, was arrested in Chamkarmon district’s Tonle Bassac commune.
 
“The victim told us that it involved three people but she didn’t know their names, only their faces and where they lived. So she took us to where the woman was living and that’s when we arrested Ms Lat,” Mr Phanith said referring to the radio caller, 27-year-old Nhuon Sok Heng.  
 
Ms Sok Heng also brought police to the home of Mr Hong Meng, but a third person involved in the operation remains at large.
 
During her call to ABC radio, she said the pair were responsible for finding people willing to donate a kidney for money. She considered doing it herself, but changed her mind and decided to expose them when she learnt she would be flown to India for the operation.
 
“Ms Lat said she had facilitated organ donation twice. Each time, she received $300 from Mr Hong Meng and $100 paid by the organ donor,” Mr Phanith said.
 
In the first case Ms Lat handled, the organ donor was offered $5,800 for her kidney upon her return from India.
 
According to Mr Phanith, Mr Hong Meng was responsible for forging documents to say the organ donor was a relative of the organ recipient.
“He handles the documents and expenditure and can receive $41,000 each time. He told me that he’s done this more than 10 times already,” he said.
 
Police confiscated 12 passports in the raid – five from prospective organ donors, three from facilitators and four from previous organ donors who were to return for health check-ups.
 
Colonel Keo Thea, Phnom Penh anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection bureau chief, confirmed the arrests but stopped short of providing additional details pending the completion of the investigation.
 
In May last year, the National Assembly adopted a law banning the commercial sale of organs after reports of a flourishing “red market” – the trade of human body parts – in Cambodia. The law imposed imprisonments of up to 20 years should the transfer of human cells, tissues and organs be carried out for commercial purposes.

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