Embassy calling for Indonesians’ release

The Indonesian Embassy in Phnom Penh yesterday claimed that as many as three migrant workers had been subject to physical abuse at the hands of a “mafia-style” casino in Kandal province that has been holding 16 Indonesians over alleged embezzlement committed by their labour recruiter.

In a press statement delivered yesterday, the embassy said that the 16 workers had been “unlawfully detained” by a Dai Long-owned casino in Koh Thom district, and that embassy personnel had performed an investigation of the case.

“Following further meetings with the 16 Indonesian migrant workers, the Embassy gained confessions from them that during the 5-days-long of unlawful detention in the casino’s shelter (May 11 to 16), as many as three of them had suffered physical abuses from the casino,” the statement read. “While all … were also threatened by the casino’s leader with an electric shock device.”

Media reports earlier this month revealed that an Indonesian named Jefry Sun had allegedly set up jobs for the 16 men and then vanished with roughly $161,000 of the casino’s funds. The casino then allegedly held the workers as collateral at the Grand Dragon Resort while the case was sorted out.

The embassy said the casino then filed a lawsuit against 10 of the 16 men. The accused are currently under the supervision of Cambodian authorities, but have been found not to be involved in the alleged theft.

As such, the embassy has demanded their immediate release “without any condition”.

Kandal provincial police chief Eav Chamroeun said all the men want to return to Indonesia, but “we still need them to stay for a while as the case is being solved”.

He added that Sun had confessed to the crime, but was back in Indonesia. A Grand Dragon manager claimed not to know about the case.