Kidnappers freed the son of a three-star general yesterday in what his father claimed was a case of mistaken identity that led the assailants to drop a US$500,000 ransom demand.
So Akno, the son of Lieutenant General So Phan, the deputy director of the general commissariat of the National Police, was kidnapped on October 8 by a group of armed men who police said then demanded $1 million ransom for his release.
But So Phan said that, having already halved their demand, the kidnappers released his son yesterday at 2am without extorting a cent from him.
“I am very happy, as my son has been released from a group of kidnappers, and he was not tortured or injured. I did not pay any money to the kidnappers,” he said, adding he would not pursue the perpetrators through the courts or police. He denied rumours he had paid US$500,000 to secure his son’s release.
But a police official from the Ministry of Interior, who asked to remain anonymous, claimed the reduced ransom had been paid by So Phan to free his son.
“We now are working hard to arrest these kidnappers to bring them to justice,” he said, adding that the group had been sighted bundling So Akno into a Lexus when they originally kidnapped him from his house in Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district.
Touch Naruth, chief of Phnom Penh Municipal Police; Ya Kim Y, chief of Phnom Penh Municipal Military Police; Mok Chito, chief of the Ministry of Interior’s Criminal Police Department; and Khieu Sopheak, could not be reached for comment yesterday.