Six Chinese nationals allegedly involved in the kidnapping and illegal confinement of three of their countrymen in the capital in December yesterday denied having any knowledge of the case in a hearing at Phnom Penh Municipal Court.
The six were arrested on December 14 and 15, accused of holding the Chinese trio at a Meanchey district rental house for four months in a bid to make them repay a loan taken to pay off gambling debts.
All six were charged a week later along with a seventh suspect, Chu Qi Long, who remains at large and is being tried in absentia.
The five men arrested at the raid of the rental house – Dai Xiao, 35; Hue Wu Tong, 46; Li Xi Hua, 59; Xu Cheng, 41; Wang Jie, 35 – each testified that they worked for a company named Sai Min, which offered loans to gamblers.
They said the firm was named after its Chinese owner and managed by two people only known as Feng and Xiu Hua. The whereabouts of the trio are not known.
“Our sole responsibility was to approach potential borrowers who wished to make loans with the company,” one defendant said.
The sixth accused, Zhang Zheng Sheng, 41, was arrested at Sai Min’s house the following day and has denied even working for the company.
“I was Sai Min’s friend . . . I stayed with Sai Min. Then the police arrested me at his house when Sai Min wasn’t there,” he said.
Defence attorney Tep Moncheath, representing all the accused, said two of the victims – Hu Liang Yong and Zhang Yong – had withdrawn their complaints, but judge Ros Piseth said it was a criminal case still valid for trial.
The name of the third victim has never been revealed. A verdict is due on October 13.