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Casino kidnapping case heard

Poipet casino owner Ding Chunyaun (left) outside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday, where he is on trial for illegally detaining a man in lieu of unpaid debts.
Poipet casino owner Ding Chunyaun (left) outside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday, where he is on trial for illegally detaining a man in lieu of unpaid debts. Niem Chheng

Casino kidnapping case heard

A casino owner yesterday maintained his innocence in a bizarre kidnapping and extortion case at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, while also contradicting his own lawyer’s statements.

Casino owner Ding Chunyaun, 55, and accomplice Zhan Qian Qiang, 30, are charged with illegal detention for holding gambler Zhun Xiao Liang from January 5 until February 28 against his will in Poipet town, while trying to force his family to pay back debts.

The plaintiff acknowledged he owed about $800,000 but said 10 Chinese men kidnapped him, demanding that he pay about $450,000 immediately.

“They sent pictures of my confinement to my wife. They did not give me food regularly,” he said in his police report.

Ding’s lawyer Keto Sovandy pointed to his client’s visa as proof of innocence, arguing that it showed he arrived in Cambodia a day after the kidnapping. Ding, however, said he had been in the country but not in Poipet. His alleged accomplice wasn’t present in the courtroom.

Municipal Military Police Secretariat Or Kem An said four suspects had been arrested, but he did not know the whereabouts of the other two. A verdict is expected soon.