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Officials linked to child begging

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times Share:
Police have arrested two goverment officials linked to child begging on the streets of Phnom Penh. KT/Valinda Aim

Two Ministry of Social Affairs officials and a third man were accused yesterday of masterminding the hiring of poor children to beg on Phnom Penh streets.

Officials Khuth Nim, 55, and Hing Sarom, 42, and beggar San Seth were arrested by military police on Sunday.

City municipal military police officer Ly Sarith said his forces rescued ten street children from the trio’s houses.

The children were sent to a municipal rehabilitation and training centre in Phnom Penh.

“They were the masterminds behind people who encouraged poor children to beg for money from people, including travellers and foreign tourists in the city,” Mr Sarith said yesterday.

The three were charged with inciting children to beg, and face jail terms of up to two years if convicted.

He said that according to military police investigations, the three oversaw the collection of street children and poor children to work as beggars in markets, on streets and at traffic lights in the city.

“They exploited child labour and abused the children’s rights,” he said.

The children were given meals and paid between 10,000 riel ($2.50) and 20,000 riel ($5) per day.

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