An alleged member of an organ trafficking ring was charged yesterday over a year-long kidney sale operation involving at least 10 victims.
Construction worker Cheoun Thi, 38, of Phnom Penh was accused of unlawful removal of organs with purpose and “the act of selling, buying or exchanging a person”, which includes selling, buying or exchanging organs.
The charges, laid in Phnom Penh Municipal Court, fall under the Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation. They carry a jail term of up to 15 years.
Colonel Keo Thea, director of the anti-trafficking and juvenile protection office in Phnom Penh, said: “He was part of a group of organ traffickers that police arrested in May but he has been at large since then.
“He was arrested in accordance with a court warrant.
“His role was seeking people to sell their kidneys or organs, and working to prepare victims’ documents to go abroad,” he said.
Col Thea said police were searching for other suspects still at large.
On May 24, suspects Lach Hong Meng, 34, and Heng Lat, 38, female, were arrested after they acted as brokers and offered victims $5,800 for their kidneys.
Both are being held at Prey Sar prison awaiting trial.
A police report said Mr Hong Meng was considered to be the mastermind of the operation, while Ms Lat was employed to seek out and convince donors.
Mr Thi was employed to work on other related documents. In more than a year up to May, they bought the kidneys at of least 10 victims in Cambodia.
The victims were brought to New Delhi in India to have their kidneys removed and sold for between $40,000 and $45,000 per patient.