5-Year-Old Rescued From Chains, Captor Freed

A woman suspected of keeping her 5-year-old adopted daughter chained and imprisoned inside her house on a Koh Kong rubber plantation while she went to work was arrested Friday by provincial police, but they released her the same day out of “pity,” a police official and rights group said.

Local rights group Adhoc investigated reports by neighbors of abuse and found that for the past two years, Pov Siphan, 43, had kept the girl bound with iron chains and locked inside the house in Khemara Phoumint City’s Smach Meanchey commune while she went to work on the rubber plantation, provincial coordinator Neang Boratino said.

“For two years, the girl’s adopted mother tied her up with large chains to prevent her from going outside the house between 7 and 11 a.m. and from 1 to 5 p.m. when she was at work,” he said.

Adhoc, cooperating with the provincial department of women’s affairs, informed police of the situation, removed the girl from the house and put her into the care of the provincial department of social affairs.

“This is a serious violation of a child’s rights—all children should be guaranteed to be properly cared for by their parents,” Mr. Boratino said.

He added that police visited Ms. Siphan’s house last year after neighbors informed them of probable abuse, but they ended their investigation when she promised she would stop chaining up the girl.

Provincial police chief Sam Khitveth on Sunday confirmed police had arrested and questioned Ms. Siphan, but said they released her the same day because they sympathized with her.

“According to the law, it was wrong of us to release this lady, but we did it out of pity because she did not intend to imprison the girl. She just wanted to take care of her while she went and left her home alone,” Mr. Khitveth said.

He denied allegations made by local media over the weekend that Ms. Siphan had bribed police to let her go and insisted his department was free of corruption.

“It is not true because we do not have any corruption here,” he said, adding that a press conference would be held today to clarify the issue.

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