Negotiations Stall in Kidnapping Ransom

As negotiations for the victim’s release faltered, authorities Thursday continued to scour the capital for the kidnappers of a CPP finance official’s son, police said.

“Right now we are like a watchdog everywhere,” said one military police official, refusing to be identified.

The kidnappers have made no contact since Wednesday night with the family of Chheang Sophan Narith, 25, who has been missing since being abducted outside his Phnom Penh house Tuesday, police said.

Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara said Thursday the situation was  deteriorating, while one police official, speaking on condition of anonymity, called the situation “hopeless.”

Kidnappers last spoke with the family Wednesday night, de­manding $150,000, military and municipal police officials said.

But the victim’s family is worried because they don’t have enough money to meet the kidnappers’ ransom demands, officials said.

Two sources, one an Interior Min­istry official, said the timing of the kidnapping—just days after the high-profile capture and killing of notorious kidnapper Rasmach—was no coincidence.

According to the interior official, powerful authorities who were responsible for protecting Rasmach’s kidnapping gang have sent a clear message to Chea Sophara with the latest kidnapping, challenging his control of the city.

Chea Sophara said he had no comment regarding the claims the kidnap is an attack on his administration of the city.

“The investigation is still going on” throughout the city, said Poa Limmy, municipal judicial police chief, who came into the post just two weeks ago.

(Additional re­porting by Kevin Doyle)


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