Real Estate Mogul Jailed Over Check

Sung Bonna, chairman of the Bonna Realty Group, was jailed on fraud charges on Friday after allegedly issuing a check without having the funds to cover it, according to a court official.

Ly Sophanna, a spokesman for the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, said Mr. Bonna was apprehended on Friday morning and immediately brought to the court for questioning.

The Bonna Realty Group's office in Phnom Penh. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
The Bonna Realty Group’s office in Phnom Penh. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

“Phnom Penh Municipal Court prosecutor Seng Hieng issued a warrant to bring Sung Bonna to court for issuing a check without money,” he said. “The competent authorities implemented the court’s warrant by bringing Sung Bonna for questioning before the prosecutor.”

In the evening, Mr. Sophanna said, Mr. Bonna was charged under Article 231 of the Law on Negotiable Instruments and Payment Transactions, which describes fines and prison terms for those found to be in violation of various provisions of the law.

“The prosecutor found that there was inculpatory evidence and decided to charge Sung Bonna,” he said, adding that an investigating judge confirmed the charge and sent Mr. Bonna to the ­minimum-security PJ Prison to await trial.

According to the Koh Sante­pheap Daily newspaper, Mr. Bonna was arrested by Interior Ministry police at about 11 a.m. for issuing an unusable check to wealthy businessman Keo Hun, who holds the title of “oknha,” an honorific secured with a minimum $100,000 donation to the state.

The article states that Mr. Bonna had reportedly borrowed $400,000 from Mr. Hun and recently paid him back with a check that the ok­nha was unable to deposit.

As he was escorted from the courthouse on Friday evening, Mr. Bonna told reporters that he was unfazed by the charge against him.

“It’s OK, because it is the obligation of legal experts to decide [to detain me],” he said. “What should be investigated shall be investigated further.”

“Allow the FBI to investigate,” he said when asked about the check itself.

Nuon Rithy, managing director of the Bonna Realty Group, declined to comment on the case. Officials at the Interior Ministry could not be reached.

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