Joint police forces on Monday arrested three Chinese nationals in Preah Sihanouk province suspected of being part of a five-man gang that held multiple karaoke bar hostesses in Phnom Penh against their will.
Brigadier General Kol Phally, chief of the Preah Sihanouk provincial general crimes department, identified the suspects as Li Hong Jie, Guo Yuwei, and Li Xiao Xiang, who lived in the provincial city.
Brig Gen Phally said they were arrested by police officers from the Interior Ministry, and the Kampot and Preah Sihanouk provincial police departments at about 2pm on Monday at their rented home.
He noted that the men were suspected of being members of a gang that kidnapped, detained and raped the women, while extorting the women’s employer for $4,000 each.
“The three Chinese nationals were arrested after police raided their rented house in Sihanoukville,” Brig Gen Phally said. “Two other Chinese men are currently at large.”
He noted that police seized handcuffs, electric batons, a car and three passports from the men.
Brig Gen Phally said the suspects were transferred from Preah Sihanouk to the Interior Ministry in Phnom Penh for further questioning.
As for the ones at large, Brig Gen Phally said police are currently looking for them.
Maj Sok Sarith, an officer with the municipal penal police, yesterday said that according to initial police investigation, the gang persuaded the women to dine with them at a restaurant in Sen Sok district.
He added that after the women entered their vehicle, the gang brought them to Kampot province instead with the intent of extorting the women’s employer.
Maj Sarith said the gang then called the employer and asked for $4,000 for each woman.
The boss reported the incident to municipal police, and police devised a plot to make the arrest.
Maj Sarith said the money was paid in order to lure the gang out of hiding on Sunday.
The gang then dropped the women off in Kampot city and fled, before being arrested on Monday.
Maj Sarith said all five victims have been rescued by police and are now in the Chinese embassy in Phnom Penh.
Major Ly Sothy, a police officer with the Interior Ministry’s penal police department, yesterday said the suspects are now being questioned.
He noted that they are accused of arrest and unlawful confinement with aggravating circumstances, rape and threat accompanied by extortion.
If found guilty, the men could be jailed for up to 15 years each.