Two Arrested in Connection to Kidnapping

Two men suspected of being in­volved in the kidnapping of a Cam­bodian-American woman at her new home in Phnom Penh’s Cham­kar Mon district were arrested Monday while driving on Russian Boulevard, according to the Min­istry of Interior’s penal police.

Authorities did not reveal the identities of the two suspects be­cause the hostage, 39-year-old Klout Sothy of San Jose, California, is still being held by the men’s ac­complices at an unknown location.

“The hostage is in their colleagues’ hands,” Phnom Penh pe­nal police chief Muong Khim said. “Please wait until our duty is done,” he said.

The suspects, who authorities stopped Monday at 2 pm as they were riding in a Toyota Camry, have not revealed where the kidnapped woman is being held, penal police officials said Monday.  They also disclosed that it was Klout Sothy’s husband in the US who had first alerted Cambodian police of his wife’s reported kidnapping.

A police official said on condition of anonymity that the kidnappers initially tried to extort $5 million from the victim’s family. They then demanded an additional $80,000 to spend “just for fun” until negotiations were finished, said the official.

Klout Sothy’s family has not paid any money to the kidnappers, po­lice said.

The kidnapping occurred just hours after Klout Sothy had return­ed to her native land on Friday.  Police said she had been at her new home in Olympic commune for only a couple of hours after getting off a plane from the US when two men burst in and forced her at gunpoint into an idling Toyota containing two other men.

David Gainer, spokesman for the US Embassy, said that he could neither confirm the kidnapping of the Cambodian-American woman nor comment on the matter.

The investigation into the reported kidnapping is continuing, Mu­ong Khim said.

(Additional reporting by David McFadden)



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