Police in Preah Sihanouk province over the weekend apprehended six Chinese men and a Chinese woman suspected of illegally confining a countryman and his wife and robbing them of more than $100,000.
Brigadier General Kol Phally, deputy Preah Sihanouk Provincial police chief, identified the six men as Tan Zhichao, 25; Zhou Hongli, 30; Liu Dong, 38; Zhou Ming, 23; Li Xingang, 41; and Yang Jian Yu, 50 and the woman as Tang Lu, 31.
He identified the two victims as Hong Youhao, 23, a driver for a casino in Sihanoukville and his wife as Xiang Yayangzi, 23, casino staffer in Sihanoukville.
He said that according to investigations, at about 2pm on July 30, the two victims parked their Range Rover in front of a Chinese drink shop in Buon commune’s Pram village.
He said that as Hong and Xiang alighted the car, two of the six suspects approached them and pointed knives at them, before the other four handcuffed them.
Brig Gen Phally said they then pushed the couple into their Land Rover and drove away.
The six men brought the couple to their rental house in O’Tres II area in Prammuoy village in Buon commune and confined them in a room, Brig Gen Phally said, adding that they began demanding the $300,000 in ransom from their families in exchange for their release.
“According to the victims’ statements, the Chinese men robbed the couple of money, and jewelry worth more than $100,000 and a Toyota Range Rover car,” he said. “They also attempted to extort about $300,000 from their families.”
Brig Gen Phally said Cambodian neighbours, by chance, saw the couple being confined in the room and alerted local police.
He said that police raided the house and arrested five suspects on July 31 at their rental house in O’Tres II area.
“After their arrests, police rescued the two victims,” Brig Gen Phally said, noting that two more suspects were arrested in Sihanoukville on Saturday and Sunday.
He said that police also seized two pairs of handcuffs, two flashlights, 18 phones and three passports.
Brig Gen Phally said the seven Chinese suspects are still being detained for questioning at the provincial police headquarters.
They were accused of “arrest, detention, unlawful confinement, and drug possession, and thefts with aggravating circumstances” under Articles 253, 353 and 357 of the Criminal Code.
If found guilty, they face five to 10 years in prison each.
Brig Gen Pahlly said the suspects will be sent to the provincial court for questioning today.