Three Chinese nationals arrested on Monday in Preah Sihanouk province for allegedly being part of a five-man gang that held multiple karaoke bar hostesses in Phnom Penh against their will were yesterday charged by Phnom Penh Municipal Court.
Major Ly Sothy, a penal police officer, said that after questioning, a prosecutor at the municipal court decided to charge all of them with two charges under articles 232 and 239 of Criminal Code.
“The prosecutor of municipal court this afternoon has charged them with threats accompanied by extortion, and rape,” he said. “According to their charges, they face up to 10 years each in jail if convicted.”
Maj Sothy said the three accused were then returned to the Penal Police Department at the Ministry of Interior and will again appear in court today to be questioned by an investigating judge.
Maj Sothy identified the three accused Chinese nationals as Li Hong Jie, 32; Guo Yuwei, 31; and Li Xiao Xiang, 27. Two other suspects remain at large.
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.
He said they were arrested at about 2pm on Monday at their rental house in Sihanoukville. They were arrested after they kidnapped five Chinese karaoke hosteses in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district before taking them to Kampot and Preah Sihanouk provinces.
He said that after their arrests, police rescued the five Chinese women. Police also seized several handcuffs, electric batons, a car and three passports from them.
The five victims have been sent to stay at the Chinese embassy in Phnom Penh, he noted.
Ly Sophanna, spokesman for Phnom Penh Municipal Court, could not be reached for comment yesterday.