Suspects Sought in Lawmaker’s Kidnapping

No arrests have been made in the abduction of opposition party parliamentarian Lon Phon, though municipal police officials maintained Monday that they have suspects and expect to close the case within a few days.

“The criminals are hiding in a quiet place and are still hanging around the city,” Khuon Sophon, the city’s criminal police chief said.

At least four people are being sought in connection with the kidnapping of Lon Phon, who was taken off the street near his central Phnom Penh home Wed­nes­day night and released three days later after family members paid a ransom. Family and police put the figure at $140,000.

Though government officials say the kidnappers sought only the ransom and targeted Lon Phon because he runs a hotel and diamond vending businesses, Sam Rainsy Party officials continue to say the abduction was politically motivated.

The incident has made opposition party members wary about their future safety, party cabinet chief Phi Thach said.

He criticized the efforts to catch Lon Phon’s kidnappers, saying he doubted a serious investigation was being conducted because of the government’s responsibility for the crime. “Every­body is aware of the politically bad intentions behind this incident,” Phi Thach said.

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