A 35-year-old man was arrested Monday in Battambang province’s Mong Russei district for allegedly kidnapping two children and threatening to kill them unless their parents transferred about $125 to an account via mobile payment company Wing, police said Tuesday.
Suom Vuthy was arrested at about noon while driving his motorbike with the two children on his way to withdraw the ransom money, said Chet Vanny, provincial deputy police chief.
“We arrested the suspect while he was driving with the two children to withdraw the money through Wing in Mong commune,” Mr. Vanny said.
Mr. Vuthy kidnapped the two children, aged 13 and 7, from their home in Stung Treng province’s Anlong Chrey commune on Friday at 2 p.m., according to Ham Bunthel, deputy Stung Treng provincial police chief. He said Mr. Vuthy then traveled to Phnom Penh and later returned to his home in Battambang province on Sunday.
Mr. Bunthel said Mr. Vuthy was jailed twice in Cambodia on charges of intentional violence and robbery, but escaped in 2013. He then fled to Thailand, where he met the two children’s grandmother, Chea Pav, 47. Mr. Bunthel said the two then returned to Cambodia and lived for three months in Stung Treng province with the two children and their parents.
The parents filed a complaint on June 29 after attempts to find their children on their own failed, Mr. Bunthel said.
“Our police worked closely with the parents and we decided to send some money through Wing on Monday morning with 100,000 riel [$25] for the first time. After the suspect successfully withdrew the money, he called again and asked for another 100,000 riel,” Mr. Bunthel said.
“The suspect continued to threaten the children’s parents to send more money and if not, he would kill them. We deployed our taskforce at the Wing station and when he went to withdraw the second time, we arrested him.”