Scam Rescue Leader to Be Released Soon After Appeal Court Reprieve

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Chen Baorong of the Cambodia-China Charity Team, in a photo posted to the group’s WeChat account.
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SIHANOUKVILLE — A Chinese man who was jailed while leading efforts to rescue hundreds of forced scam laborers is expected to be released from Preah Sihanouk prison soon after his sentence in the “blood slave” case was reduced.

Chen Baorong, who is a businessperson based out of Phnom Penh, ran the China-Cambodia Charity Team that informally helped victims of human trafficking, forced labor and torture at scam compounds predominantly in Sihanoukville.

Chen had talked about the “blood slave” case — where a Chinese man claimed that his blood had been harvested by a scam operation — and was arrested and sentenced to two years in prison alongside his assistant Chen Xiaohua, 41, and a Sihanoukville doctor, Tan Xiaomei, 41. They also had to pay a fine.

Chen and his assistant were charged in March with incitement to discriminate, false declaration, unlawful interference in the discharge of public functions and unlawful use of certificate of profession; the doctor was charged as an instigator of incitement and false declaration.

On Wednesday, the Preah Sihanouk Appeal Court decided to suspend part of the prison sentence handed to Baorong and the two others. The three will only serve 10 months in prison.

Chen was taken into custody in Phnom Penh on February 25 and then transferred to Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court in early March, and will likely be released in the next several days.

Lim Sinath, a spokesperson for the Preah Sihanouk Appeal Court, did not respond to a request for comment and provincial court prosecutor You Tithwathanak answered the phone but said he did not know about this case.

Li Yan Yuan Lun, 31, the alleged “blood slave,” was given a suspended sentence of three months in late August in the case for fabrication, and he was sent back to China. 

After the “blood slave” case made international headlines, the Cambodian government requested Chinese officials to shut down rumors and help Cambodia repair its image internationally.

Additional reporting by Mech Dara

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