Abducted Phnom Penh Girl Had Been Sold for $400, Police Say

A 3-year-old girl abducted outside her Phnom Penh home earlier this week was rescued after being sold to a coffee vendor in Kandal province for $400, police said Friday.

The suspect in the child’s kidnapping, Nguyen Thi Hoeung, 30, a Vietnamese national, was arrested on Thursday in Chbar Ampov district, said Teang Chansar, police chief in Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo district.

Ms. Thi Hoeung had sold the child, Kong Vanda, to the vendor, Pham Thi Ngor, 31, for $400, saying she had too many children and couldn’t afford to raise them all, said Uy Chheang, deputy police chief in Kandal’s Koh Thom district, where the child was found.

The coffee vendor has no children, and “she bought her because she wants to raise her,” Mr. Chheang said. “She agreed to accept and raise her.”

Mr. Chansar said Ms. Thi Ngor had no intention to exploit the girl, who is nearly 4, and would not be charged. “We did an evaluation,” he said. “She has no intention to exploit her.”

‘We asked her to make a contract to not do it again,” Mr. Chansar said.

A $500 reward had been offered on Tuesday for the child’s safe return. At the time, Eric Meldrum, investigations director at the NGO Agape International Missions, said a female beggar, believed to be Vietnamese, had taken the girl after asking the child’s grandmother for old clothes. The beggar disappeared with the girl when the grandmother went to retrieve some items, he said.

Ms. Thi Hoeung was being detained on Friday at the Russei Keo district police headquarters, and would be sent to the court later, police said.

[email protected]

Related Stories

Latest News