An alleged mastermind of a notorious gang of kidnappers known for ransoming wealthy Cambodians — often successfully — was arr-ested in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district on Saturday and sent to the municipal court after 11 years on the lam.
Military police spokesman Colonel Kheng Kito said Lam Kim Leang, 46, also known as Lay Seng, had been a high-ranking member of the infam-ous Rasmach gang, which was prolific in the late 1990s until its leader Som Nara, aka Rasmach, was gunned down by police in 1999.
As well as kidnapping, Kim Leang was thought to have entered the drug business after Rasmach’s death, Kito said.
“The competent authorities arrested the suspect on an old court warrant, and there are no new offences.
“He used to be involved in kidnapping with Rasmach’s thugs. After our forces destroyed their group, and killed and arrested some suspects, some escaped and committed drug trafficking.
“As a result, I don’t know what their conviction will be.”
Four members of the Rasmach gang — Chhoeun Sary, Hou Samnang, Hou Peo and Ou Pich — had been arrested in 1998 and 1999 in conjunction with the group’s kidnapping activities, according to an unnamed military police officer at the Investigative Justice Office.
Three others — Lam Sok Kheng, Mao Sakun and Kruy Seng Leng — were arrested nearly 10 years later on drug production and human traff-icking charges, he said.
The officer said Kim Leang was believed to have produced and dealt drugs with Sok Kheng, his nephew, before Sok Kheng was arrested in possession of drug-production equipment and other assorted paraphernalia.