Siem Reap Provincial Court yesterday charged two Peruvian tourists with theft for allegedly stealing a Chinese woman’s belongings in a restaurant.
Brigadier General Chea Kimsan, chief of the provincial immigration department, identified them as 65-year-old Mendez Tinco Epifanio and his wife 49-year-old Quispe Espinoza.
The victim was identified as 63-year-old Zhou Lihua, a tourist from China.
Brig Gen Kimsan said the two were charged by the court with theft and each could face up to three years in prison and be fined up to $1,500.
He said the suspects were arrested on Friday in Siem Reap city after they allegedly stole the victim’s backpack, which contained a passport, a mobile phone and an ATM card.
“They are now in pre-trial detention,” Brig Gen Kimsan said.
Captain Chuon Sothea, an officer with city police, said the theft allegedly happened on Wednesday in a seafood restaurant in Svay Dangkum commune at about 11.30pm.
Cap Sothea said the suspects, who had already finished their meal and paid their bill, waited for the victim to leave her table before stealing her belongings.
“The victim, who had placed her backpack on the table, went to the bathroom, then the two suspects stole the backpack,” he said. “After stealing the victim’s belongings, they left the restaurant and went to their hotel room.”
Cap Sothea said the victim noticed that her backpack was missing after she had gotten back to her table and alerted the owner of the restaurant. She then filed a complaint with local police.
Three days later at about 5.30pm, the suspects returned to the restaurant and the owner, who recognised them, alerted commune police.
Cap Sothea said the suspects were arrested at about 6pm per the victim’s complaint.
He noted that the owner of the restaurant and police were able to identify the suspects after looking at the restaurant’s CCTV footage.
Police seized the two suspects’ passports, but the victim’s belongings were not recovered.