Police in Kompong Speu province on Saturday recovered from a flooded quarry the bound and gagged body of a man believed to have been kidnapped the previous week for ransom.
Heng Piseth, the 25-year-old victim, was a son of the owners of the Heng Cheng chain of bakeries in Kandal province.
Kompong Speu provincial serious crimes police chief Sam Sak said Heng Piseth went missing on Thursday, the same day the family paid the kidnappers in Phnom Penh.
“According to Kandal provincial police it is a kidnap case,” he said. “The suspects kidnapped the victim and asked for $100,000 from the victim’s family and the family gave them the money on [Thursday] night.”
Mr. Sak added that police have identified suspects.
“The Kandal provincial police know 70 percent of the suspects,” he said. “I cannot say more because the Kandal provincial police are in charge of the case.”
Kandal provincial police chief Iv Chamroeun declined to comment on the case because it was still under investigation.
Mok Chito, head of the central judicial department at the National Police, would not confirm that Heng Piseth had been kidnapped but said his death was being treated as a murder.
“It is a murder, but we do not yet know why he was killed,” he said.
In Kompong Speu, the chief of Baset district’s Kak commune, Suon Yon, said the bloated body was spotted by local cow herders Saturday afternoon, floating face down in the flooded quarry. Villagers who saw police recover the body, he added, said Heng Piseth was found with his legs bound, hands cuffed behind the back and his head covered in a white T-shirt with tape over his mouth. He said the body had suffered repeated blows to the head.
Mr. Yon said he also spoke with a man at the scene who described himself as Heng Piseth’s brother-in-law. He told him the victim had indeed been kidnapped but claimed the kidnappers had demanded not $100,000 but $500,000.
“According to the relative, it was a kidnapping,” Mr. Yon said. “They asked for $500,000 and they [the family] gave them $100,000, but the suspects still killed the victim.”
A woman who answered the listed phone number of the Heng Cheng bakery in Takhmao city said she was a cousin of Heng Piseth but declined to give her name. She also claimed that the kidnappers had demanded $500,000.
“There are about five suspects and they are all men,” the woman said. “The police are investigating. I cannot say more because we [the family and the kidnappers] know each other.”
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