Two Taiwanese nationals and a Malaysian were detained this week for allegedly holding nine Thai citizens hostage in a job offer scheme, but Malaysian authorities reportedly have been unable to contact or assist in the situation.
The foreign suspects were detained by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday and accused of “unlawful confinement” under Article 253 of the Criminal Code, according to court spokesman Y Rin.
Sok Khemarin, head of the Interior Ministry’s Penal Police Department, said on Sunday that two Taiwanese nationals and one Malaysian national were arrested on Tuesday in Tuol Kork district’s Boeung Kak II commune.
The three accused allegedly held the Thai nationals – who had been promised jobs in Cambodia – for two days without allowing them to leave the villa, Khemarin said, though he declined to go into detail. The group of hostages managed to contact Thai authorities in Bangkok, and the Interior Ministry coordinated with the Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh to rescue the group, he said.
According to a diplomat with direct knowledge of the case, the Malaysian suspect, who speaks Thai fluently, was brought into the scheme by the two Taiwanese suspects to translate.
The source suspected that the Malaysian was “victimised” by the situation as well. Malaysian authorities were promised they would be able to meet the accused at the municipal court last week so they could assist him, but the suspect was not present when authorities arrived, the diplomat said.
The family of the Malaysian suspect was able to meet with him on Saturday, but the Malaysian authorities had yet to receive a full police report or meet with their citizen, according to the source.
The diplomat described the situation as “frustrating”, but said it was “normal procedure” for criminal proceedings in Cambodia.