Police arrested three Chinese nationals on Saturday for kidnapping, assaulting and planning to murder another Chinese man over a $26,000 unpaid debt.
The police stumbled upon the gang after tracking a car believed stolen in Preah Vihear province to a house in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey district, according to Yim Saraan, Pur Senchey district police chief.
Forty-eight-year-old Y Chong Ling’s landlord in Preah Vihear, Hong Kim Meng, contacted police when his tenant borrowed his car but failed to return it, leading Mr. Kim Meng to believe the vehicle had been stolen, said Mr. Saraan.
“The owner was worried that the Chinese man had stolen his car, so he contacted [Pur Senchey district police] because the car has GPS [global positioning system] tracking, which is what led us to the house” in Choam Chao commune, Mr. Saraan said.
There, police discovered Mr. Y in an upstairs room, with his mouth taped, his arms and legs bound, and serious injuries to his head and face. Three other Chinese nationals at the rental home were arrested.
“The three Chinese men are loan sharks,” Mr. Saraan said. “The victim owed them $26,000 and went to meet the men [at an undisclosed location] to repay $6,000 of that sum and offer to pay the remainder at a reduced monthly rate of $2,000—but they rejected this and tied him up, put him in the trunk of the car and brought him to the house,” he said.
Police believe the gang intended to kill Mr. Y on Saturday night.
“The Chinese men confessed that they planned to kill the victim before our district police officers rescued him by following the GPS signal—he is a very lucky man,” he said, adding that the gang may have mafia links.
Mr. Y works for a Chinese-owned sugar plantation in Preah Vihear province and has been sent to the hospital for medical treatment, Mr. Saraan said, without giving further details.
The three Chinese men are in custody and will be sent to Phnom Penh Municipal Court to be charged with premeditated attempted murder and illegal detention for the purposes of extortion.