The appeal hearing began yesterday in the case of five Chinese men jailed a year in prison each for the capture, confinement and attempted extortion of $30,000 from a restaurant general manager over an unpaid debt in the capital.
Appeal Court Presiding Judge In Vannvibol identified the five as Wang Jinbo, 49; Jai Giug, 33; Tan Wei, 36; Li Ji Yan, 36 and Sun Xin, 30.
He identified the victim as Chin Weihong, 35, the general manager of a Chinese-owned restaurant and guesthouse located in Chamkar Mon district.
Judge Vannvibol said the convicts were found guilty of “arrest, detention and unlawful confinement” under Article 253 of the Criminal Code by the lower court.
He said on November 4, Wang, who was angry over an unpaid debt on a rented property, led a group of eight Chinese men to the restaurant to demand payment from the owner.
After they arrived at the restaurant, they could not find the owner, who was in China visiting family at the time, he said.
Instead, they turned to Chin Weihong, confining him to the restaurant and demanding $30,000 for his release, he added.
“They were angry with the owner of the restaurant for not paying a rental fee for two months and were seeking revenge and financial gain,” he said.
“They detained Chin, who was the general manager of the restaurant, and locked him inside the restaurant for nearly 48 hours,” he added.
The five men were later arrested at around 11.30pm on November 5 by the military police in Tonle Basac commune, he said.
“The military police were alerted by a friend of Chin’s and arrested five of the eight men who were still on the premises with the victim. The other three men were not present and are still at large,” he said.
On May 25, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced the five Chinese men to one year in prison and a $500 fine each.
During their appeal trial yesterday, the men admitted to committing the offence, saying they caught, detained and locked Chin inside the restaurant because his boss owed them $30,000 in rental fees.
However, they said they did not know their act was illegal or violates Cambodian laws and requested the court drop their sentences.
A verdict will be handed down on August 14.