Man Fakes His Own Kidnapping After Costly Gambling Spree

A man arrested for faking his own kidnapping in an attempt to cheat his family out of a $20,000 ransom to pay a gambling debt was educated and released Wednesday, according to police in Sihanoukville.

Yok Kongpheara, 26, was found Tuesday lying motionless on the beach in Bei commune by police, who were responding to a complaint from his family after the conman’s girlfriend received a text message from him saying he had been abducted and needed $20,000 deposited into his bank account, according to commune police chief Khieu Vatha.

“We found him and he could not speak and could not walk so we lifted him up to the land and sent him to the clinic for treatment,” Mr. Vatha said.

Upon examination, however, doctors concluded that he was faking his injuries and informed authorities.

Sihanoukville police chief Phol Phorsda said that an investiga- tion had concluded that Mr. Kongpheara, who lives in Phnom Penh, had concocted the fake scenario after gambling away $5,500 that was given to him by relatives.

“He dared not to go back home, so he invented this story,” said Mr. Phorsda, adding that he had told his girlfriend if the family did not come up with $20,000, he would be killed.

Preah Sihanouk provincial police chief Chuon Narin said that, under questioning, Mr. Kongpheara had admitted to creating the story after blowing his money in casinos in Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville.

“Relatives gave him $5,500 to put in the bank but he lost it all in a game,” said Brigadier General Narin, adding that the man had then ridden his motorbike to Sihanoukville, sold it, and lost that money as well.

“He called his family and claimed he was drugged and his hands and legs were tied together,” he said, adding that Mr. Kongpheara’s family picked him up from the provincial police station Wednesday after he was educated on the effects such behavior could have on his personal standing.

“It affects his own pride when the story is published by the media and it can cause turmoil in society,” he said.

“Cheating yourself is OK but don’t cheat others.”

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