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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kidnap prompts manhunt

Kidnap prompts manhunt

Military police chief exchanges money, detainee for daughter

AMANHUNT is on for the men who abducted and exchanged for ransom the daughter of a high-ranking military official in Siem Reap province, provincial Governor Sou Phirin told the Post Sunday.

Morn Chakriya, daughter of the province's military police chief, Morn Samon, was released after a group of men abducted the high school student from the street and sped off in a car last Friday afternoon, said Prak Chantoeun, the province's deputy military police chief.  He said he could not release more information as the investigation was ongoing.

Morn Samon confirmed that his daughter had been returned to him but would not offer more details on the case.

Governor Sou Phirin said a ransom - including money and the release from custody of a man suspected to have been involved in the abduction - had been negotiated privately between the family and the kidnappers.

He would not disclose the amount of ransom paid but said the kidnappers had  changed the location of the ransom exchange several times in order to keep authorities on their heels.

Khmer language press reported that the kidnappers had demanded US$150,000 from the father, as well as the release from custody of a co-conspirator, in return for his daughter. The newspapers later reported that the father had negotiated the ransom payment down to $80,000.

Sok Sam Oeun, director of the Cambodian Defenders Project, said it was within the law to release a suspect in order to protect the life of a victim.

Sou Phirin said it is unlikely the kidnappers have fled the country.

"We will not let the kidnappers go free from punishment," he added. "We are hunting for them."

He downplayed the implications of the incident for security in the area.

"It's not a big issue - it's just a private issue that should not affect security or tourism here," he said. 

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