Poipet town police on Monday sent 12 Chinese nationals to the Banteay Meanchey provincial police headquarters after they were detained at a guesthouse on Sunday for kidnapping three of their countrymen over unpaid loans incurred in a gambling spree.
Poipet town police chief Thin Sindeth said the 12 suspects were accused of kidnapping and sent to the Banteay Meanchey provincial police headquarters on Monday morning.
“All the suspects are male. I sent them to Banteay Meanchey provincial police headquarters for them to pursue further legal action,” he said.
Lach Nhib, the head of the procedure unit at Banteay Meanchey provincial police’s serious crime bureau, confirmed that the 12 Chinese suspects were at the provincial police headquarters, where police were questioning them and preparing to send a report to the provincial court.
“The suspects loaned money to other Chinese people and charged interest for the loans. Because the three Chinese victims lost money by gambling, they did not have any money to pay their debt."
“They were then held against their will and beaten by the suspects. We saw marks from their beatings all over their bodies,” Nhib said.
He said that last Friday, the group of suspects – aged between 20 and 31, and the victims whose ages ranged from 18 to 36, met to gamble at a casino in Poipet town.
Nhib said the two groups were already acquainted with each other. The victims gambled and lost all their money, he said, so they borrowed more from the group of suspects, but he was unsure exactly how much was borrowed.
When the victims lost the money they had borrowed and were unable to pay it back, he said they were held by the suspects in a room at Sophal Thavy guesthouse in Poipet commune’s Kbal Spean I village, where the suspects were staying.
The victims were then forced to phone their parents, he said, and ask them to send money from China so they could repay the loans – but now the repayment included an exorbitant interest rate.
Nhib said the suspects were arrested after the victims’ parents filed a complaint from China with the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh.
The embassy provided photographs of the victims and the location where they were detained to the Cambodian authorities, which led to the suspects being arrested.
After the crackdown, Nhib said, police seized some evidence, including a dagger and plastic rope which had been used to tie up the victims.