Men Who Fed Thief’s Severed Thumb to Cat Charged With Torture

The Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court on Thursday charged two Ukrainians and a Russian with the illegal detention, torture and assault of a Cambodian man, as new details in the gruesome case emerged.

Ukrainians Vadym Sundakov, 33, Krutakov Anatolii, 26, and Russian Alexander Kulikov, 25, were arrested Tuesday after Mam Rithy, 28, was discovered gagged, bound and chained by the neck to a flag-post. Police said he had been tortured and had the top of his thumb cut off after stealing one of the men’s mobile phones—valued at $10.

“All of them were charged with illegal detention and torturing and assaulting the victim by the Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court,” said Lieutenant Colonel Men Vanny, chief of the provincial minor crimes department.

Provincial court officials could not be reached for comment.

According to Lt. Col. Vanny, the victim was caught Monday night at around 9 p.m. sneaking into Mr. Sundakov’s home and attempting to steal his phone. The three men then bound his arms and legs, hung him upside-down and began torturing him.

“Mr. Sundakov and his partners cut off Rithy’s right thumb and held it in front of him to look at for a while, and then they called their cats to eat it,” Lt. Col. Vanny said. “Mr. Sundakov confessed that he threw the thumb into the grass.”

After cutting his thumb, the torturers glued the victim’s fist shut using superglue. As Mr. Rithy began screaming for help, they gagged him with a plastic tube.

“In the morning, they took a chain and tied it around his neck, and they laid his body on a big rock,” Lt. Col. Vanny said, adding that the chain was attached to a flag-post in Commune 3 where he was found by residents who alerted police.

“We sent them to court with the torture equipment and the steel cutter they used to cut Rithy’s right thumb, which we still have not found yet,” Lt. Col. Vanny said.

The victim is still recovering in the provincial referral hospital, where he remains in a serious condition, said Dr. Se Chousethichot, the hospital’s deputy director.

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