Three months after she went missing from Phnom Penh’s riverside area, 7-year-old Sang Hong has turned up in Siem Reap, to her parents’ relief yesterday evening.
“It’s like having a piece of gold with me. I feel reborn,” her mother, Leav Lim, said last night.
“I’m so happy I’m almost passing out,” said her father, Leang Nan.
Lim told reporters shortly after Hong disappeared in May that the last time she had seen her daughter the girl was being led away by a boy in his early teens.
Siem Reap police took a youth into custody when they rescued Hong; they believe he is the same boy. He has since been transferred into the care of an NGO, said Doung Thavery, Siem Reap’s chief of anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection police.
The authorities were alerted to Hong’s disappearance after riverside restaurant owner Larry Luchok contacted NGO the Child Protection Unit (CPU).
When Siem Reap police found Hong in Prasat Bakong district yesterday, Thavery sent a photo of her to CPU director James McCabe, who forwarded it to Luchok to show the parents.
“The mother just collapsed on the floor,” Luchok said of the moment he showed Lim proof her daughter was alive.
The parents are slated to travel to Siem Reap this morning to be reunited with their daughter. When they return, they hope Hong will support them by selling bracelets to tourists.
“It’s extremely rewarding that, regardless of the status of the family, the Cambodian National Police have been diligent in assisting the CPU in locating this child,” McCabe said last night.