Wealthy Family Accused of Holding Children Captive

The patriarch of a wealthy family and two of his employees were arrested on Tuesday for allegedly holding captive an 18-year-old girl for eight years and and beating her 12-year-old brother, who was also held captive, according to police. Three other members of the family were called in for questioning over the allegations.

Soeung Hoeung, the owner of the Tuol Kok villa on Street 265, the family’s cook Ky Tieng and bodyguard Yem Bun Thoeun were arrested on Tuesday, according to Eav Rith, a bureau chief in the Interior Ministry’s penal police department.

Mr. Hoeung’s sons Soeung Ratana and Soeung Ratha along with his wife Taing Sim Rong were questioned and released as police continue their investigation, Mr. Rith said. Mr. Hoeung was released soon after being arrested on his lawyer’s request, citing ill health, he added.

“There are six suspects in this case and police questioned three, arrested three and detained two. Police will send them to court this week after the completion of questioning,” Mr. Rith said.

Speaking from a safe house Wednesday, the boy said he was repeatedly beaten and the girl claimed to have been tortured and raped.

“He raped me once and tried another time,” the teenage girl said of Mr. Ratana, one of the sons. “He told me not to tell anyone and promised to buy me a necklace, ring and phone if I kept quiet.

“I was so unhappy when I was detained, I had no freedom and I was always beaten. When I did something wrong they would pull my hair and beat me. The wife and [Mr. Ratana] were the worst.”

The mother of the alleged victims finally raised the alarm on July 22 after she had a conversation with her daughter through the villa’s gates. The girl told her mother she was scared for her life and the mother sought the assistance of local rights group Licadho, who told her to alert police.

Am Sam Ath, Licadho’s technical supervisor, said police rescued the girl from the house on Tuesday after the boy had escaped a day earlier.

The children’s mother said Wednesday that she accepted $500 about eight years ago from Mr. Hoeung for her daughter to work and live with his family after he visited their home in Kep province.

The mother said she signed a contract with Mr. Hoeung, but was not sure what it said. She says that she received another $500 six months after giving up her daughter, but stopped receiving money after that and despite repeated efforts, was unable to get her back.

“After a year, I went back to the house and [my daughter] said she was beaten so we tried to get her back although I didn’t inform authorities,” the mother said.

“They would cuss me and the wife would try to hit me and close the door when I would try to get the child back,” she added.

The mother claimed that two years ago, her daughter was sent to the family’s home in Kep province to fetch her brother while she was at work. The 12-year-old boy said Wednesday that he spent the next two years held captive in Mr. Hoeung’s villa.

“They’d always slap me and kick me in the head and then they would make me polish their shoes afterward,” the boy said Wednesday. “I’m so happy to be free from there now. I’m so angry with those people and I hope they get sent to jail.”

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