Three alleged members of a notorious kidnapping gang who carried out the June 27 abduction of a Phnom Penh businessman were arrested Friday in Pursat province, Provincial and Municipal Police officials confirmed Sunday.
The two men and one woman were arrested in the Sampou Meas district of Pursat province where they had recently bought a plot of land and were beginning to build a house, Pursat Governor Ung Samy said Sunday.
According to Ung Samy, the three have been sent to Phnom Penh where they are wanted in connection with the kidnapping of businessman Taing Pheng Por.
The arrested trio; Vong Vorakbot, Tuon Chan Ly and Tuon Vibol, are part of a kidnap gang who brought a six-month lull in Phnom Penh abductions to an end June 27 when they shot and snatched the business boss from in front of his paint shop on Monireth Boulevard.
Taing Pheng Por was found alive hours later in a residence in Tuol Kok district after relatives allegedly paid a $250,000 ransom to the kidnappers.
The gang’s leader, Sam Nara, who is better know by the name ‘Rasmach’, is still on the run but not thought to be in Pursat province, Ung Samy said.
A senior Municipality official said Sunday that Sam Nara is thought to be hiding in China. However Khuon Sophon, Municipal Judicial Police chief, said Sunday that Sam Nara has reportedly returned to hide in Phnom Penh. “We will arrest him soon,” Khuon Sophon said.
Prach Rim, Pursat deputy provincial police chief, said Sunday the three alleged kidnappers came to the attention of authorities after they bought a half-hectare plot of land worth $5,000.
Neglecting to monitor people renting property was cited by Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara as his reason for firing two Tuol Kok district commune chiefs and a police officer after Taing Pheng Por’s abduction.
District officials should have been aware that the kidnapping gang was renting the residence in their district, Chea Sophara said.