Mobile Phone Firm Asked To Help Thwart Kidnappings

A Phnom Penh military police commander called for a phone company’s cooperation Tuesday in cracking down on kidnappings.

Chhin Chanpor said on state-run TVK that better hand phone security could prevent kidnappers from asking for ransom.

“We have found that 95 percent of the offenders have used Sim­card 012 telephones,” he said. “They just buy the cards and use the telephone to threaten the victim’s family and ask for money.”

But MobiTel—the operator of the “012” prefix—says there is no link between what kidnappers or anyone else uses. “Mathema­tically, the link [made by the official] is unfortunate, but not surprising” given the company’s market share, said MobiTel General Manager Iain Williams.

With more rigorous identification procedures linking specific people to specific phones, the police could trace a number more easily to an owner, Williams said.

Although there is no law mandating such recordkeeping, phones—and their numbers—are registered to the purchaser’s identification documents. But, MobiTel can’t keep track of phones sold after the preliminary registration, he said.

Chhin Chanpor also called for cooperation from the public. “If you are threatened for money by the kidnappers by phone, or your security is threatened by armed robberies or other offenses, call 023 725 536,” he said. “We serve you 24 hours, day and night without any conditions.”

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