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Charged trio accused of kidnapping, torture

A group of Vietnamese migrants who travelled to Cambodia on the promise of lucrative wages were instead met with imprisonment, starvation and torture, a provincial police official said yesterday.

Ke Khan Nara, deputy chief of Kampong Thom provincial police, said Vietnamese national Hou Tab, 42, his Cambodian wife, Thoeun Srey Touch, 33, and their Vietnamese accomplice Nguyen Van Thoeu, 26, will be sent to court today to face charges of “detaining, torturing and kidnapping”.

According to Khan Nara, the trio is accused of luring two Vietnamese women and eight men, aged between 20 and 50, across the border by promising highly paid jobs and additional spending money for gambling in their final month in the Kingdom.

But after arriving in Cambodia, “they were locked in separate rooms at a home,” Khan Nara said. “They were given little food and [only allowed to] take baths every four days.”

The 10, whom he said were detained for between one and three weeks, were also tortured in a bid to extract ransoms from their families.

“Nguyen Van Thoeu made a phone call to their families in Vietnam, hitting them so that they would yell for help into the phone and ordered [the families] to send the money to them in Cambodia,” Khan Nara said.

“Some were injured on their heads, knees and [across their] bodies.”

He added that a ringleader based in Vietnam worked out how much money the prisoners’ families could afford to pay to determine the ransom they would demand, which he said ranged from $2,000 to $4,000.

But the calls for ransoms led the families to ring the police for help.

According to Khan Nara, while one family paid the kidnappers $3,000 to secure their loved one’s release, the other families waited for police to bust the illegal operation.

After raiding the house on Saturday, the victims, only two of whom had passports, were sent back to Vietnam.

“The home looked simple, but they were torturing them inside,” he said.

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