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Suspect in kidnap case escapes jail

Suspect in kidnap case escapes jail

Kampong Cham provincial police are searching for a 27-year-old woman accused of kidnapping and attempted extortion, who escaped from custody by allegedly climbing through a 25-centimetre hole in the roof of a bathroom, Chem Seng Hong, deputy provincial police chief said yesterday.

The parents of the kidnapped 6-year-old girl filed a report at the police station on Saturday morning when they realised she had been kidnapped after receiving repeated phone calls from the suspect demanding they transfer US$20,000 in ransom for the girl.

The woman was arrested on Saturday at Cambodia Asia Bank in Phnom Penh’s Prampi Makara district as she awaited the transfer of a negotiated ransom of US$12,000 from the girl’s parents.

The suspect was due to be sent to provincial court for further questioning over the kidnapping charges, but managed to escape when she was allowed to use a bathroom at the police station on Sunday.

“A police official allowed her to go to the bathroom and she locked the door from the inside while he was waiting for her outside.

“We concluded that she made her escape through a small hole in the roof which is about 2 metres high.”

Chem Seng Hong said the escape was unexpected and regrettable.

“We are terribly regretful for our negligence in letting the offender flee from our detention facility,” he said.

“We did not expect that it was possible, and it is the first time such a thing has happened [here] in all the years I’ve worked as a police officer.”  

Chem Seng Hong said that police have distributed more than 1,000 fliers with the suspect’s name and photograph, and are exhausting all options to discover the whereabouts of the fugitive.

“We are now burning our hands and legs to hunt for the woman to be brought in for prosecution ... revealing her identity to all levels of district, commune and military police officials in the province and other provinces,” he said.

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