Cambodia’s ‘Okhna’ Tycoons Abuse Power to Commit Crimes: NGO

Tycoons in Cambodia known as “Okhna” are abusing their power to commit crimes, a nongovernmental organization said Tuesday, as those who hold the honorary title in addition to a ranking position in the military or police are being required to choose between the two to avoid conflicts of interest.

The title of Okhna—meaning nobleman or lord—is given by royal decree to anyone who has contributed at least U.S. $500,000 to the government, and many who hold the title first amassed vast fortunes through successful business ventures in Cambodia.

However, Okhna are increasingly abusing the power that comes with their title to cheat people and commit crimes with impunity, negatively impacting the value of the designation, according to Pen Bonnar, who heads the local community empowerment office of Cambodian NGO Adhoc.

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