Fourteen foreign nationals are being treated in quarantine and later will be sent to the Sihanoukville Provincial Court for allegedly possessing firearms, kidnapping one individual and extorting money, according to provincial authorities.
The fourteen individuals were arrested after a Chinese national Yi Geng Fa went missing last week, leading to an operation that located him at the Xihao Yinghui Hotel in Sihanoukville, according to information from provincial military police. He was rescued and security personnel found the 14 individuals in possession of numerous firearms, including two rifles and five pistols.
Huot Vichet, a spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office, said the 14 people were in quarantine and will be presented before the prosecutor after health procedures were completed. He added that the 14 were being “treated” but didn’t clarify if any of them had Covid-19.
“The 14 suspects are being treated and quarantined, and after the completion of the health measure the authorities will send the case to the prosecutor’s office,” Vichet said.
According to a Facebook post from Preah Sihanouk military police, the 14 were arrested on September 10 by a team of 30 mixed security forces at the Xihao Yinghui Hotel. During the operation, security personnel freed a Chinese national.
A separate post from the National Police said Chinese national Wen Shang Qian filed a police complaint on September 5 against Yi Geng Fa, who owed him money. Using security camera footage, the police were able to identify the vehicle that had been used to abduct Yi. The National Police post gave no details about why he was kidnapped.
Kheang Phearum, a spokesperson for the provincial administration, said there was crime everywhere, whether it be a developed or developing country.
“The most important thing is we completely crack down on all crimes and the authorities continue to find perpetrators to [bring to] justice,” he said and refused to comment further.
Observers have raised concerns over an influx of Chinese and foreign criminal groups as the port city grew rapidly for online gambling, which was then banned in 2020.
In a separate case, police also reported another abduction in the city that resulted in the arrest of five Chinese nationals. A National Police post said a man was detained in a Sihanoukville apartment and beaten.
“The upper lip was bruised, there were bruises on the chest and right forearm, as well as wounds on both wrists because the suspect was handcuffed,” the post reads.