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‘Kidnapper’ says ransom was faked

The Supreme Court yesterday heard the appeal of a man sentenced to 15 years in prison and ordered to pay 10 million riel (about $2,500) in compensation for a 2011 case of kidnapping for ransom.

According to presiding judge Khme Pun, suspect Seng Vannat, 29, met the victim, a university student, in January 2011 and took her from Phnom Penh to Preah Sihanouk province where he rented a room at a guesthouse.

The following day, he reportedly tied her up, taped her mouth and locked her in the room before calling her mother to demand $300,000 for her release. The mother agreed to pay $150,000 and made an appointment with Vannat at City Mall, where he was arrested by authorities.

However, the suspect yesterday denied the allegations, claiming that the pair had been lovers and that she had driven him to Preak Sihanouk by car, contriving the story to protect her family’s reputation.

But prosecutor Chum Som maintained Vannat’s testimony was inconsistent. “[He] is very cunning since he managed to lure the victim into his trap.”

The verdict is due on October 27.

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