Police on Saturday rescued 10 Vietnamese nationals from a house in Kompong Thom province where they were tortured and starved for more than a month while their captors extracted ransom money from their families in Vietnam, a police official said Sunday.
The rescue operation came after police received a tip from an 11th captive who escaped the house in Prasat Balaing district, fled to Banteay Meanchey province and alerted authorities there, according to Kompong Thom provincial police chief Chou Sam An.
“We spent over one month looking for the victims after we received a tip from the one who escaped,” he said, adding that both provincial and district police participated in the raid.
Mr. Sam An said the ringleaders of the kidnapping operation—Hou Tap, 42, a Vietnamese national; his Cambodian wife, Thoeun Srey Toch, 33; and Nguyen Van Thor, 26, also Vietnamese—were also arrested on Saturday. The trio will be sent to the provincial court today to face charges of illegal detention and torture, he added.
Mr. Sam An said the Vietnamese who were freed—nine men and one woman—were lured to Cambodia with the promise of jobs paying $500 per month. Instead, he said, they were handcuffed and locked in the basement of the house in Kraya commune that would be their prison for the next few weeks.
“The kidnappers beat them, one by one, while they called the victims’ families in Vietnam to extort money, between $300 and $4,000 [each],” he said, adding that the victims were also denied food while in captivity.
In April, three Vietnamese nationals were arrested in Sihanoukville for kidnapping two 34-year-old Vietnamese men and demanding a $7,000 ransom from each of their families after coaxing them across the border on the pretense of a gambling trip.