Kidnapping Foiled With AK, Grenade

Dozens of shots were fired and a grenade exploded in central Phnom Penh on Tuesday as a hostage made a break for his freedom during a bungled kidnapping, witnesses and police said. There were no injuries.

The incident occurred at a house on Street 278 at about 1 pm, when 47-year-old Kung Seng turned on his captors, police said.

“When the three kidnappers didn’t pay much attention, Kung Seng grasped an AK-47 that the kidnappers had left close to him, and fired at them until it ran out of two magazines of bullets [60 rounds],” said Tep Kum, a Cham­­kar Mon district deputy police chief. “When he ran out of bullets, he grasped two hand grenades. But only one exploded.”

The kidnappers fled, police said, and remained at large Tuesday evening. Phnom Penh military police are questioning Kung Seng, a money changer.

Police said Kung Seng had been taken hostage Monday, and ransom had been set for $400,000. His captors had re­moved the cuffs from his arms and legs, perhaps because they were getting ready to collect the money, police said.

“The hostage had agreed to pay the ransom to the kidnappers,” said Kong Saran, deputy director of Municipal Police.

Witnesses said the victim fled the house and fired shots into the air as he ran up a block to Street 63, then north to Sihanouk Bou­le­vard, where he flagged police.

After the incident, about 30 police with automatic weapons blocked off Street 278 near Sih­anouk Boulevard and Street 63.

Police said Tuesday evening that they had not been able to locate the owner of the house or substantiate a connection to the kidnappers. “The court prosecutor has issued a warrant to shut the house until the investigation is done,” Tep Kum said.

Phnom Penh has been plagued by a rash of kidnappings of businessmen in recent weeks.

Police said the incident would not affect security at the Water Festival, which already has been beefed up because of concern over possible political violence and terrorism.

(Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse)

 

 

 

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