Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday began the trial of two Chinese men who were arrested last year for allegedly operating a massage parlour used as a brothel and gambling den in the capital.
Presiding Judge Theam Chanpiseth identified the pair as Chang Jinglong, 35 and Wang Ping, 33, both of whom were managers of a Vietnamese-owned massage parlour located in Por Senchey district’s Chaom Chao III commune.
They were charged with multiple offences, namely, “the act of bringing a person cross-border, receipt of a person with purpose, management of prostitution, provision of premise for prostitution, procurement of prostitution and illegal gambling operation” under Articles 18, 19, 26, 30 and 32 of the Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation and Article 5 of the Law on Suppression of Gambling.
If convicted, they each face up to 15 years in prison.
According to court records, they were arrested on September 8 last year by the Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Department police following a raid on the massage parlour.
“They charged their clients from $50 to $100 per session but deducted a 50 percent commission for every payment made,” said Judge Chanpiseth. “They also used the shop as a gambling den.”
Twenty Chinese, seven Vietnamese and two Cambodian masseuses were arrested at the scene while 10 passports, 12 mobile phones and other pieces of evidence, including a notebook with their clients’ names and condoms, were seized.
The foreign masseuses have now been deported by the General Immigration Department, said Judge Chanpiseth.
During yesterday’s hearing, the accused denied the allegations as well as their managerial position in the parlour. They said they were low-rank staffers and were only paid $500 a month.
The massage parlour, said the duo, is owned by a Vietnamese-Chinese national by the name of “Kao Keu”, who is now at large. They also denied complicity in the recruitment and pimping of the prostitutes fronting as masseuses, saying such activities were handled by the owner.
“I was just a normal staffer working for a decent income. I would like to deny the allegations because I did not know of or commit any of what I am accused. I ask the court to drop my charges and release me,” said Chang.
A verdict will be handed down on July 24.