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Kidnappers arrested in Stung Treng

Three suspects accused of holding an eight-year-old boy for ransom were arrested in Stung Treng town on Wednesday and detained for interrogation while they await official charges, provincial military police commander Van Dy said yesterday.

According to Dy, the alleged kidnappers were Haiy Leang-heng, 40, reputed to be the head of a group of robbers, and husband and wife Im Chakrya, 22, and Sorng Sovann, 30, who were released from prison in April after serving time on drug charges.

The boy’s father, cattle trader Koh Sok, said that a few days before the second-grader was kidnapped on Wednesday, his 22-year-old daughter was asked – presumably by one of the suspects – for his phone number under the pretence of conducting a business deal.

“The suspects lied to my child to get him on a motorbike with them [outside school], saying they were taking him to me,” Sok said, adding that he then received a call from the suspects saying they had kidnapped his son.

After initially demanding $50,000, the kidnappers settled on a ransom of $5,000, he said.

Unable to afford to pay this, Sok and his wife then contacted the military police, he said, who set up a sting operation.

Sok’s wife, Chrang Sineoun, 43, was told to throw the money over the side of a bridge, and authorities captured the suspects as soon as they came to retrieve the cash.

Although visibly shaken, their son returned uninjured.

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