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Kona man pleads not guilty in human-trafficking case

A 39-year-old Kona man accused in a large-scale human trafficking federal case pleaded not guilty yesterday in U.S. District Court.

Sam Wongsesanit surrendered to the FBI this week and made his first appearance in court yesterday. He is accused of making economic threats to workers from Thailand who were brought to work in Hawaii under alleged false promises by recruiting company Global Horizons Manpower Inc.

Wongsesanit was released on his own recognizance, which means he did not post bail.

U.S. District Court Judge Leslie Kobayashi will hold a hearing at 3 p.m. today on whether Global Horizons Chief Executive Officer Mordechai Orian can be released. Orian is currently detained by federal authorities.

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