Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Back home, hostages tell of time in captivity

Back home, hostages tell of time in captivity

Released fishermen attend an event at the Caritas Cambodia head office in Phnom Penh yesterday.
Released fishermen attend an event at the Caritas Cambodia head office in Phnom Penh yesterday. Heng Chivoan

Back home, hostages tell of time in captivity

Four Cambodian fishermen released by Somali pirates last month recounted their ordeal at a press conference hosted by NGO Caritas yesterday.

Khorn Vanthy, 26, from Kampong Cham; Kin Kemhen, 33, of Kratie; and Em Phoum Many, 33, and Nhem Soksan, 33, both from Kampong Chhnang, spent almost five years as hostages after their fishing vessel Naham 3 was attacked in March 2012.

Following the payment of a $1.5 million ransom, they were released along with 22 other surviving non-Cambodian crew members on October 22.

In 2012, the pirates’ initial ransom demand had been $20 million for all 26 crewmembers. Phoum Many spoke of how the Cambodians were forced at gunpoint to telephone their embassy in Washington and request $1 million for their release.

“The embassy said that this is a huge amount of money, we will find a way to help you, but we are not sure whether we can help you,” Phoum Many recalled.

Later, a pirate shot one of the Cambodians in the foot after his request to relieve himself triggered an argument.

“After that, we decided among ourselves to stop eating, because they would shoot us one day whether we ate or not,” Phoum Many said.

Kim Ratana, executive director of Caritas Cambodia, promised his organisation would provide the four fishermen with counselling and support as long as was necessary.


  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • Khmer cinema classics back on big screen for free at WB Arena’s outdoor movies series

    On a recent Saturday evening at WB Arena, Bunsong was enjoying a tasty BBQ meal with his family after work on the long tables that had been arranged out in front of the restaurant as they watched a Khmer action movie on a big outdoor

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the