Police Catch Final Suspects In Rice Trader’s Kidnapping

Two more men were arrested and charged in the botched kidnapping of a 50-year-old rice trader early this month, bringing the total number of suspects apprehended in the plot to five.

Seoun Sy, 30, and Pum Channa, 26, were arrested on Friday in Kompong Speu and Phnom Penh, respectively, and charged on Monday by the Kompong Speu Provincial Court with extortion, aggravated theft and unauthorized possession of weapons, said Keo Sareoun, deputy provincial penal police chief.

“They are the people who were directly involved in committing the crime, and this afternoon they were sent to the prison for pretrial detention,” he said.

On January 1, rice trader Phnong Ki was accosted by a man on a motorbike who led her to a quiet, wooded area and bound her to a tree. When he stepped away to call one of her relatives and demand $20,000, Ms. Ki escaped and provided a detailed description of her captor to police, who quickly apprehended the suspect, Tha Tim, 20.

He, in turn, named an accomplice, Rin Sam An, 29, while police used phone records to trace a third suspect, Im Sokleng, 33. The three were charged on January 4, with police saying two more men were believed to be involved.

Provincial penal police chief Sam Sak said on Monday that authorities once again used information from one suspect to implicate the second.

“Our forces arrested one of them [Mr. Sy] in a rice field in the province, while the other one was arrested in Phnom Penh in cooperation with the penal department there,” Mr. Sak said.

“We used the first suspect to hunt for the second one, and then we knew that the second one was in Phnom Penh and we went down there and arrested him   successfully.”

Both men had guns in their possession when they were arrested, the police chief said.

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