Bulgarians Appear in Court Over ATM Theft Attempt

Three Bulgarian nationals stood trial at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday for attempting to steal bank details from ATM users with a skimming device.

Vasile Veselin Todorov, 48; Georgi Stefanov Hadzhirusev, 28; and Yonka Petkova Dermendzhieva, 26, were charged with attempted theft after being arrested on September 23 for using the device—which scans data from cards inserted into the bank machine—on an ATM in Chamkar Mon district.

Speaking through a translator, Mr. Todorov admitted that he ordered the skimming device online after seeing an advertisement for it on the Internet, but insisted that his co-accused were innocent.

“I admit that I attempted stealing…. I just wanted to try it for the first time,” he said.

Mr. Todorov never actually succeeded in stealing any money, despite multiple attempts. Mr. Hadzhirusev and Ms. Dermendzhieva both pleaded not guilty.

Deputy prosecutor Keo Sokunthea said their claims of innocence were not plausible.

“The two entered the ATM booth and clearly saw that Veselin did not use his card to draw money but they still joined and did not inform [police] about this,” she said.

A verdict is scheduled to be issued on November 17.

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