Tong Tin Members Hold Protest Outside Court

Confusion over court procedures led about 100 people to protest outside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday after a member of their tong tin community savings group—whom they accused of owing them $265,600—was released on bail after being charged with fraud.

Chhay Kim Huay was granted bail on Wednesday after questioning, but the protesters believed the court had freed her, court spokesman Suos Vithyarandy said on Thursday.

“We just gave her bail and put her under court observation,” he added, declining to comment further.

Protester Por Somaly, one of the members of the savings group, said: “She cheated hundreds of us, so why did the court release her?

I demand justice.”

The plaintiff in the case, Meng Sok Heang, a collector for the informal lending operation, was clearer on details.

“The court promised to call her back within a week and will make her pay,” Ms. Sok Heang said.

The suspect had failed to pay the money she owed since May 1, instead using the funds to buy a house, she said.

The savings ring involves members depositing equal sums into a pool before bidding on the interest rate for use of the money over a fixed period.

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