Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday charged five Chinese men for unlawfully confining a Chinese businessman for ransom in Tuol Kork district, where they beat him to recover a $15,000 gambling debt.
Major Nuon Chantha, a municipal police officer, identified the accused as Lee Jung Chuan, 52, Chen Chen, 34, Wang Xainwei, 23, Zhang Xiang, 36, and Zhang Young Jian, 24, all professional gamblers.
He said that the five are charged with unlawful confinement and threats accompanied by extortion and face up to five years in jail each if convicted.
Maj Chantha noted that at about 8pm on Thursday, the unnamed 45-year old victim went to a casino in Chamkar Mon district and gambled away all his money.
“He borrowed $10,000 from the accused men to gamble more but lost it all,” he said. “He then borrowed another $5,000 from them in hopes of recovering his earlier losses, but lost again.”
“When the victim could not repay the money, they kidnapped him around midnight and took him in a taxi to their rental house in Tuol Kork district,” Maj Chantha added.
He said that the accused confined the victim and kept beating him before contacting his family on Friday to pay $15,000 to secure his release.
“They said they would kill him if the money was not paid,” Maj Chantha said. “The family lodged a report with the district police on Friday night.”
Maj Chantha said that police decided to set a trap and told the family to pretend that they would pay the money.
He said that on Saturday morning, the family contacted the accused who told them to bring the money to their rental house.
He added that police followed a family member to the house and rescued the victim before arresting the five men.
Maj Chantha said that police seized a pair of handcuffs, a flashlight, five phones and other items from the accused. All five accused have been jailed at Prey Sar prison pending their trial.