Police said yesterday they were searching for a 39-year-old man who allegedly abducted a 20-year-old woman from a market near her home in Phnom Penh’s Dangkao district last week.
While details from officials were scarce yesterday, Nhem Sith, the chief of Bat Sleng village in Dangkao district’s Pong Toek commune, said that the 20-year-old victim had been found by police in Pursat province’s Pursat City on Thursday after having gone missing four days earlier.
Mr Sith said the victim, whom he and other officials declined to identify, had told authorities she had eaten noodles with her alleged abductor at a market near her house after the man told her he was an RCAF brigadier general.
He added that the victim suspected the man had placed drugs in her food, causing her to lose consciousness.
“She was tricked by the suspect to eat noodles while she was walking at the local market, and [after becoming unconscious] was taken to the suspect’s house in Pursat,” Mr Sith said.
Pursat provincial police chief Sarun Chanthy said yesterday he was notified on Thursday that Mak Sovann, a 39-year-old man from Pursat City, was holding the 20-year-old victim, but did not explain how the information had been gathered.
“I gave the information to five or six police officers in Pursat City to arrest the suspect,” Mr Chanthy said, adding that the suspect had fled into the forest when police arrived at his home in Chamroeun Phal commune.
“We are investigating further to try and arrest the suspect who was disguised as an RCAF one-star general and who we suspect was involved in human trafficking,” he said.
Chheng Sophors, senior investigator for local rights group Licadho, said yesterday that he hoped authorities would take the case seriously.
“We have serious concerns that many human trafficking suspects…use tricks or give a lot of money to victims,” he said. “I appeal to the authorities to continue this investigation.”