Police in Preah Sihanouk province have arrested two Russian nationals and a Ukrainian on charges of illegally detaining and torturing a Cambodian man who allegedly tried to rob their home but only succeeded in making off with a mobile phone.
Kol Phally, deputy police commissioner of Preah Sihanouk province, told the Post yesterday that the three foreign men were arrested on Tuesday night after neighbours alerted police that a man was being tortured in a neighbouring rental house.
“I am not sure whether they are here for business or how long they were staying but they have a house there,” Kol Phally said of the suspects, adding that the three men will be sent to court to be officially charged today.
Phally said that when the police raided the suspects’ home, 26-year-old Mom Rithy was found with a metal chain around his neck attaching him to the wall, a water pipe gagging his mouth and his hands tied behind his back.
The thumbnail on his right hand had also been ripped off, Phally said.
The official police report, a copy of which was obtained by the Post yesterday, identifies the three suspects as Russians Sundakov Vadym, 34, and Kulikov Alexander, 26, and 27-year-old Ukrainian Anatoll Vlamirovich Krukatov.
According to the report, Vadym and Alexander arrived at Phnom Penh International Airport in March as tourists, while Krukatov’s passport appears to have been lost.
The Russian embassy said they were unable to comment on the case yesterday.
In the early hours of Tuesday morning, Rithy, who was recently released from prison on unknown charges, climbed over the wall of the suspects’ home in an effort to steal their belongings, the report notes.
He was, however, caught and subsequently tortured by the foreigners, with Vadym using scissors to cut out his thumbnail.
From his hospital bed yesterday, Rithy spoke to local media, saying that on the day of the incident he had driven his motorbike to the suspects’ home with the intention of stealing whatever he could.
He added that he had only managed to grab a mobile phone before getting caught.
“A group of several foreign men were watching TV [in the house] when I saw them through the window. When they found me, they grabbed me and took my trousers off and beat me until I was unconscious,” Rithy told the press from hospital.
“They then used a nylon cord to tie me up and they covered my face before chopping off my finger. They then tied me up by my legs with my face hanging down … I stole a mobile phone,” he said.
Boun Narith, coordinator for local rights group Licadho in Preah Sihanouk province, said he was aware of the incident and would follow up on the case with police.
“We are monitoring this case because it is strange that foreigners used violence against Cambodians. We want foreigners to know the laws of Cambodia before they commit any offences,” he said.
Earlier this year, three Russian men, including well-known tycoon Sergei Polonsky, were arrested on similar charges after they allegedly locked up six of their Cambodian crew in the cabin of their boat in Sihanoukville before forcing them to jump overboard at knifepoint.
They have been released on bail after months of detention while awaiting trial.