Military police in Svay Rieng province have arrested and charged seven Vietnamese nationals for illegally detaining 13 gamblers who owed them money, according to a court official and military police statement.
On its website, the National Military Police says the group of lenders had been operating inside a Bavet City casino illegally, and had contacted the victims’ relatives to demand that they repay debts in return for the victims’ freedom.
The suspects were arrested at about 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Piphup Thmei Casino in Bavet commune, the post says.
The website lists the suspects as Trinh Minh Hiep, 23; Nguyen Bethao, 28; Pham Ricthai, 31; Pham Nguyen Trung, 25; Nguyen Chau Vainghia, 24; Nguyen Kong My, 54; and Canh Nguyen, 35.
Provincial court spokesman Tep Phalla said the court had finished questioning the suspects and charged them with illegal confinement on Friday. The suspects were in provisional detention, he added.
Cases of illegal confinement of gamblers with debts are a recurring problem in Cambodia.
In March, four Chinese nationals, including a casino owner, were arrested for allegedly trying to recover about $1.22 million in unpaid gambling debts by kidnapping and extorting three Chinese gamblers in Banteay Meanchey province’s Poipet City.
Five Chinese men accused of holding two bettors hostage for more than two months while trying to force them to repay gambling loans were sentenced to 15 years in prison in November, while their ringleader received a 25-year sentence in absentia.