Cambodian casino owner arrested for kidnapping Chinese gamblers over $1.22 million debt

  • Four arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and extorting indebted gamblers
  • $1.22 million racked up by gamblers at a casino in Cambodia’s Poipet City
  • Daring escape attempt saw one man break free and reach Chinese Embassy

The average individual knows very little about Cambodia, but if pressed on the matter they would prossibly opine that nothing notable ever happens there.

Those who have incorporated the Southeast Asian country into their gap year itinerary would demur – the lush country, with its stone temples and archeological ruins, is stunning – but this story doesn’t involve the ‘touristy’ Cambodia.

Cambodia: home to lush scenery, incredibly archeology and agitated casino owners

This tale involves the seedier side of the nation nestled on the Indochina Peninsula. How sordid are we talking? Let’s see, how about kidnap, extortion and gambling debts?

In fairness to Cambodia, it’s not the first country to feature such a tale and it certainly won’t be the last. Gambling, by its nature, attracts risk-takers, some of whom don’t know when to stop. And when debts become insurmountable, the parties owed the astronomical amounts are prone to taking matters into their own hands. That’s exactly how it played out in this case.

Kidnapping and extortion

Four Chinese men have been arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and extorting gamblers who’d racked up sizeable debts at a Cambodian casino.

One of the figures to have been lifted is Ding Chunyaun, the owner of a casino in Poipet City. Together with his cohorts he’s accused of kidnapping three of his fellow countrymen whose debt had reached a whopping $1.22 million.

The kidnapping played out exactly as you would expect, with the wife of one of the debtors sent pictures of her captive spouse along with threats to make good on his gambling debts. In a twist to the tale, several weeks into their captivity the trio attempted a daring escape with the goal of making it to the Chinese embassy in Phnom Penh. While one of the men was successful, the other two weren’t so lucky, and were recaptured before being locked in dog cages in the apartment they were being held in.

For some bizarre reason, the kidnappers had a change of heart and decided to hand the men over to the police the following day, but by that point a rescue raid was already in progress after the wife of one of the men tipped authorities off.

Now the four suspects are facing the prospect of up to 10 years in jail.

If you get a chance to visit Cambodia, by all means check out the capital’s art deco Central Market and the glittering Royal Palace, but if you’re given the opportunity to gamble in one of the country’s casinos, you might wanna take a rain check and head to the ruins of Angkor Wat instead where, last time anyone checked, kidnappings weren’t a thing.

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