Man’s Thumb Severed for Trying to Steal Russian’s $10 Phone

A Russian and two Ukrainian men were arrested Tuesday night in Sihanoukville for systematically torturing a Cambodian man by tying him up, beating him and cutting off his thumb after he was caught trying to steal one of their mobile phones, police said Wednesday.

Police discovered 28-year-old Mam Rithy at 7 p.m. Tuesday after villagers in Commune 3 informed police that the man was found lying on the ground barely conscious. He was gagged, bound, and chained by the neck to a flag-post.

“They cut his right thumb off using steel cutters; he had lost a lot of blood and was almost unconscious and the man’s hand had been glued shut into a fist,” said Men Vanny, chief of the provincial minor crimes department, adding that the suspects had confessed during questioning.

Mr. Vanny said that the seriously injured Mr. Rithy had sneaked into a house in Commune 3, which has been rented by a Russian man for the past five years, and stole his Nokia mobile phone, which was valued at about $10.

The Russian and two Ukrainian friends, who are in Cambodia on tourist visas, caught Mr. Rithy, tied his hands and legs, hung him upside-down from a wooden beam in the house and began torturing him, Mr. Vanny said.

Mr. Vanny would not identify any of the three men arrested for the torture attack, and would not explain his secrecy.

He added that villagers noticed Mr. Rithy through the window of the Russian man’s house, and at first thought he was exercising, but they became suspicious and went closer to the house and saw the victim was being tortured, and alerted police.

The victim was sent to Sihanoukville provincial referral hospital on Tuesday at about 10 p.m. where he remains in a serious condition.

“His right hand is seriously wounded, his eyebrow is badly cut and his body is bruised from beating—if we hadn’t helped him in time, he may have died,” said Dr. Se Chousethichot, the hospital’s deputy director.

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