Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday sentenced two job recruiters to one year in prison each for cheating 31 labourers.
The court also ordered both men to pay nearly $80,000 to the labourers.
Judge Ros Piseth identified the recruiters as Prom Sarith, president of J Judo Japanese Training Centre, and his chief marketing officer Nuth Chamnab, both of whom were arrested in February and subsequently convicted of fraud.
“The court has decided to sentence them to one year in prison each,” Judge Piseth said. “The court orders them to jointly pay a total of $78,000 in compensation to the plaintiffs in this case.”
Deputy prosecutor Top Chunlong said the two last year recruited the labourers from all over Cambodia with a promise of employment in Japan.
Mr Chunlong said each labourer was required to pay a fee of $6,500, with $2,500 in advance for passports, Japanese language training, as well as other travel documents.
After paying the money, the labourers were told that they would leave for Japan within 90 days. However, the recruiters did not hold up their end of the bargain.
“The victims began complaining about how their employment was delayed,” Mr Chunlong said. “And when the victims began demanding their money back, the two men refused to do so.”
The refusal prompted the labourers to file a complaint against them in February, he added.
Ly Sopheap, a victim from Takeo province, yesterday applauded the convictions.
“I think that their sentence was not enough, but I am happy that the court has found justice for me,” Mr Sopheap said. “I would like to ask the court to force the recruiters to pay me as soon as possible so that I can take the money to the bank.”
Chhuon Phearum, another victim, yesterday said he agreed with the verdict.
“I agree with the court’s judgement, it was justice for me,” Mr Phearum said, noting that he first heard about J Judo Japanese Training Centre during a radio broadcast last year as he had been looking for a job opportunity.
He said after hearing that Japan offers higher salaries than in Cambodia, he contacted Mr Sarith to meet at the centre in Sen Sok district.
“Mr Sarith promised he would get a job that pays up to $2,800 per month,” Mr Phearum said. “I trusted him and I was happy about the prospect. I then borrowed money from a local bank in Kratie province in order to get a job.”
“However, after waiting for about three months, he did not give the job that was promised,” he adding that he was promised a job as a security guard with a Japanese company in Tokyo. “He has yet to return the money until today.
The lawyers of the recruiters could not be reached for comment yesterday.
However, during the trial last month Mr Sarith and Mr Chamnab admitted to the charges, noting they were unable to fulfil their promise due to a failed agreement with a Japanese recruitment firm in Tokyo.