A tourist who was lured to the home of an illegal blackjack ring and later robbed of US$4,400 said yesterday she was disappointed with the police investigation of the crime after they released two suspects she claimed were the group’s ringleaders.
Just weeks after the Post reported tourists falling prey to such gangs, the 23-year-old said she was tricked into being driven from Phnom Penh’s riverside to a house near Russian Market on May 1 after meeting a young woman who wanted information about studying in the US.
“She seemed really nice . . . she got me a drink,” the victim said. “She asked me to go back to her house. She said her mother was sick.”
What followed was a unsettling ordeal in which the tourist was tricked into playing cards with the woman and her partners before they robbed her of $1,500 cash and forced her to withdraw almost $3,000 more from her account.
“There were three people in the house when I got in, but in total there were six people involved,” she said.
“I had no idea where I was. My heart was going crazy. I didn’t feel like I could do anything. I’ve never been so scared in my life.”
She was taken to an ATM, which was empty, then another one, which also didn’t work, before the gang took her to a bank to withdraw the cash.
“They’ve pretty much got hands around me the whole time,” she said.
CCTV footage she later obtained from the banks had been too fuzzy to identify anyone, the victim said.
Tep Vannara, deputy chief of Phnom Penh municipal central security office, told the Post yesterday that police had arrested a man and a woman, both from the Philippines, on Monday in relation to the robbery and detainment.
A lack of evidence had resulted in them being released without charge, he said.
“We could not detain them after they denied what the victim had alleged,” he said.“However, our police are going to continue investigating the case.”
The victim said she had been conducting her own investigation of the group’s activities, which she said were blatant enough that police should be able press charges.
“I think the group has about eight other people spotting for them,” she said.
“The police are pathetic. I know I’m not getting my money back. But that’s not the point of it,” she said, adding that the police had interviewed her for nine hours on Monday.