Fourth Ex-Officer Arrested for Kidnapping

A fourth ex-RCAF officer has been arrested and charged with be­ing part of an alleged kidnapping ring made up of rogue milita­ry men, a Ministry of Interior official said Thursday.

Ex-officer Lon Pheng, 39, is be­ing held at Prey Sar prison on kidnapping charges stemming from the abduction last year of the wife of the owner of Phnom Penh’s Tai Seng Hotel, according to the head of the Ministry of Interior’s In­for­mation Department.

The arrest comes in the wake of Sunday’s capture of Kim Van­thai­, un­­til recently a RCAF briga­dier gen­eral, accused of leading the gang of ex-officers operating as kidnappers.

Kim Vanthai was arrested in Viet­­­nam and handed over to Na­tion­­al Police Commissioner Hok Lun­­­dy to face charges stemming from the kidnapping of the hotelier’s wife and the abduction of a Cambodian-American businesswo­man last month.

Chhay Sinarith, Information De­­partment director, alleged that Lon­ Pheng confessed to being in­volved with Kim Vanthai and others in the kidnapping of the hotel own­er’s wife last September and the subsequent extortion of a $1.2 million ransom.

Lon Pheng, who is not facing char­g­­­es in the abduction of the Cam­bodian-American woman, con­fessed that he was paid $240,000 for his role in the wo­man’s kidnapping, Chhay Sina­rith said.

Heav Veasna, director of the Cen­­­ter for Social Develop­ment, said that he believed the arrest of Kim Van­thai was the first time that police have arrested a senior mi­li­tary commander for kidnapping.

“The government must show no tolerance to army officials and po­w­erful people involved in the kid­napping act,” Heav Veasna said. “They must do more to ar­rest all the people involved,” he said.

 

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