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Cash shop ‘locks up’ worker

Staff at Wing Cash Xpress process transactions in Phnom Penh
Staff at Wing Cash Xpress process transactions in Phnom Penh this year. The owner of a shop that Wing cut from its roster in Ratanakkiri has been arrested after detaining a staff member for three days. Vireak Mai

Cash shop ‘locks up’ worker

The owner of a former Wing Cash Xpress money transfer outlet in Ratanakkiri province’s Banlung town was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly locking an employee in a room for three days over suspicions that she had stolen a substantial sum of money, police said yesterday.

Deputy anti-human trafficking police commissioner Keo Davy said 23-year-old victim Mann Chenda had been rescued on Wednesday after police broke down the door to the room where she was being held. Suspect Sok Kunthea, 34, is expected to be sent to court for charges today.

“It is a real crime, as we rescued the victim in a locked room at the house,” Davy said. “So the perpetrator has to be punished based on the law.”

According to Davy, police received a complaint from the victim’s mother, saying that her daughter had been tied hand and foot and detained in a room since Monday.

The mother told police that Kunthea was attempting to ransom her daughter, who she believed had stolen some $5,000, part of a larger sum of $40,000 that the owner had previously lost. Davy added that when police raided the room, the victim wasn’t tied, and that the court will also investigate the missing money.

Wing CEO Anthony Perkins emphasised yesterday that Kunthea’s outlet had ceased to be affiliated with Wing earlier this year after it was found to have been overcharging customers.

Wing, a mobile payment and money-transfer company, handled $1.5 billion in transactions last year, mostly remittances being sent between people inside Cambodia.

“We regret to learn of the reported theft from Sok Kunthea, owner of the Kun Thea Money Exchange and Internet Shop in Banlung, Ratanakiri,” Perkins said in an email.

“However, to clarify, this shop was terminated by Wing for overcharging customers outside the Wing price list, and ceased to operate as an authorised Wing Cash Xpress since April 28, 2014.”

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY EDDIE MORTON

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