CPP Official’s Son Free After Ransom Paid

The kidnapped son of a government official was released Sat­urday morning after family members shirked police involvement and paid a ransom of $150,000, ending his five-day captivity.

The release followed intense negotiations between the victim’s family, municipal police and the kidnapping gang who snatched Chheang Sophanarith, 25, and initially demanded $300,000 ransom.

Son of Ministry of Finance official Ouy Kem Chheang (CPP), Chheang Sophanarith was nab­bed at 1 pm Tuesday outside his Phnom Penh home in the Chamkar Mon district.

The kidnapping stunned mu­nicipal officials, who three days earlier had proclaimed Phnom Penh safe from kidnappings after a massive manhunt led to the shooting death of notorious kidnapper Rasmach, whose kidnapping ring carried out more than a dozen kidnappings since 1998.

In Chheang Sophanarith’s case, roughly 300 municipal and military police scoured Phnom Penh last week with photographs of two suspected kidnappers.

Municipal Judicial Police Chief Poa Limmy said Sunday the victim was released in the Kien Svay district of Kandal Province sometime Saturday morning.

The abducted man’s family opted to deal with the kidnappers directly after negotiations monitored by municipal police failed to secure the vicitm’s release, Poa Limmy said.

Poa Limmy said police did not even know when the victim was released.

“The family of the victim did not dare to report the victim was released….[The family] banned the police from investigating this case,” Poa Limmy said.

Governor of Phnom Penh Chea Sophara said Sunday he was happy the victim was freed and maintained that a police investigation will follow.

(Ad­ditional reporting Kevin Doyle)


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