Abducted Phnom Penh Girl Had Been Sold for $400: Police

A 3-year-old girl abducted from outside her Phnom Penh home last week was rescued after being sold by a family friend to a coffee vendor in Kandal province for $400, according to police.

The suspect in the kidnapping, 30-year-old Nguyen Thi Hoeung, a Vietnamese national, was arrested on Thursday in

Chbar Ampov district, said Teang Chansar, police chief of Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo district.

Ms. Thi Hoeung had sold the child, Kong Vanda, to vendor Pham Thi Ngor, 31, for $400, telling her 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.

Mr. Chansar said Ms. Thi Ngor had no intention of taking advantage of the child 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 not to do it again,” he said.

Him Kimsan, police chief of Russei Keo district’s Svay Pak commune, where the girl’s family lives, said on Sunday that Ms. Thi Hoeung was a friend of the family and had visited their house on several occasions.

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.

Mr. Meldrum could not be reached for comment on Sunday.

“For the investigation and searching, we cooperated with the family and a partner organization, and we found her,” Mr. Kimsan said, adding that “the confession of the suspect” helped police to locate the victim.

The child is “fine” since being reunited with her family, he said.

Y Rin, a spokesman for the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, said on Sunday that Ms. Thi Hoeung, the alleged kidnapper, was still being questioned by the prosecution.

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