Phnom Penh: On October 25, the Phnom Penh Court of Appeal heard the appeal hearing of a Chinese man and a Cambodian woman who were sentenced to prison last year. The two were among five convicted of hiring 33 women for an illegal surrogacy business.
Five people were arrested and sentenced over the illegal surrogacy case. The main suspects were a married couple, who remain at large.
The five arrested are: Liu, 49 (Chinese- previously named as Tiu Qiang), Thai Pheap, 43, Svay Sreynoch, 34, Koeun Sreylang, 27 and Lim Sopheap , 19 years old (Cambodians).
Liu was sentenced to seven years in prison by the Phnom Penh City Court in March last year. The others were accused of recruiting surrogate mothers, and each was sentenced to five years; three years imprisonment and a two-year suspended sentence.
The Phnom Penh court also sentenced a Chinese citizen Chen and his Cambodian wife Thai Phanna to 16 years in prison in absentia. The two are still at large.
The two who launched their appeals were Liu and Thai Pheap, both of whom stated that they were not guilty. Liu said that he was employed in the villa and did not know their specific affairs and Thai Pheap said that she was just a cook and cleaner in the villa.
They all asked the court to overturn the lower court’s decision and release them from prison.
They were arrested on June 21, 2018, and the police found 33 surrogate women in a villa on the outskirts of Phnom Penh;s Russey Keo district.
The court sentenced each of the 33 pregnant women to 5 years in prison, but this was reduced to 4 months and 21 days.
The masterminds behind the operation fled to China.
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