Extortionist Students Charged, Sent to Prison

Nine students who extorted more than $10,000 from a classmate who was stealing money from his parents’ gas station to spoil his girlfriend were charged Thursday with making threats and sent to the Battambang Provincial Prison, police and a court official said.

The nine were arrested Tuesday after the victim, Ly Chhaitak, 17, led police to a meeting where he was set to hand over $2,000 to the chief extorter, Ham Sthabna, 18, who was planning to buy himself a motorbike.

The eight other extorters, all of whom are schoolmates, were subsequently arrested.

“I have finished questioning and charged the suspects with making threats,” said deputy provincial prosecutor Pong Chanyutheara.

Chet Vanny, a deputy provincial police chief, said all nine were transferred to prison to await trial.

The crime carries a maximum penalty of six months in prison. According to police, Chhaitak had for years been stealing money from his parents to buy gifts for his girlfriend.

Late last year, his friends caught on to his pilfering and demanded that the cash be diverted to them in exchange for their silence.

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