Police Pursue Hotel Robbers to Svay Rieng

Phnom Penh municipal police have dispatched officers to Svay Rieng province to pursue three men suspected of tying up and robbing five Japanese women at gun point in their hotel room last week.

Police said they have identified the suspects and have established they are from Svay Rieng, but declined to disclose their names.

“Although the offenders are still at large, we vow to arrest them,” municipal penal police chief Reach Sokhon said Sunday.

Tourism and police officials, mean­while, downplayed the incident, saying it was an isolated oc­currence.

“We’ve never seen something like this before,” said Lim Sokha­raksmey of the Ministry of Inte­­rior’s department of tourist police.

Newly-appointed Minister of Tourism Lay Prohas met with four of the Japanese women at his ministry on Sunday, offering them free airplane tickets to Siem Reap province, $100 cash each, and three days’ accommodation, food and entrance tickets to the Angkor Wat complex, in compensation for the robbery.

“I apologized to them about the incident in Phnom Penh last week, and now we are taking care of them during their stay in Cambodia,” Lay Prohas said.

The five women had been visiting Cambodia less than a week when they were held at gun point, bound and robbed of more than $900 inside their room at the Angkor Hotel in Daun Penh district on Aug 3. No one was injured.

Police said one of the five wo­men had left the country.

The women declined to speak to reporters Sunday.

Cambodia’s tourism industry relies heavily on visitors from Ja­pan. Last year, more tourists came to Cambodia from Japan than any other country.

Police said they were also in­vestigating complaints from one guest of the Angkor Hotel, who said a Western man, later identified as working for the hotel’s security, pointed a pistol at his head hours after the Japanese women were robbed.

Daun Penh Governor Sok Sam­bath ordered the hotel closed on Thursday pending the investigation, but hotel staff said Friday that it had resumed business.

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