Comedian Charged With Forgery Stands Trial

The trial of popular comedian Chhuon Chan Ratana, better known as Keouy, commenced Thursday at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court after she allegedly pawned two automobiles she had rented from a local car dealer in 2011, court officials said.

Ms. Chan Ratana, 26, who was tried in absentia, rented a Lexus RX300 and a Toyota Camry from plaintiff Suth Var, but only paid one month’s rent on the two vehicles before selling them. The court charged her in 2012 with fraud and breach of trust.

“My client demands $10,000 in compensation and the return of the Toyota Camry and asks the court to sentence Ms. Chan Ratana according to the law,” said Suo Socheat, the lawyer representing Mr. Var.

He explained that when his client demanded a second month’s rent from Ms. Chan Ratana, she refused to pay and instead used forged ownership documents to pawn the cars. Mr. Var later spotted an unidentified man, who bought the Lexus SUV, driving around Phnom Penh, and filed a complaint.

Although the Lexus was returned to Mr. Var, the whereabouts of the Toyota Camry is still unknown.

Sam Sokong, Ms. Chan Ratana’s lawyer, said that his client had only broken a contract with Mr. Var by not paying the rent, but insisted that no documents were forged.

It was not clear if the court had copies of the forged documents claiming that Ms. Chan Ratana owned the Lexus. Mr. Sokong insisted that such documents did not exist, but did not explain how his client pawned the Lexus without claiming to own the car.

“I think this case doesn’t involve forgery of public documents and use of forged documents. I ask the judge to drop these charges,” Mr. Sokong said.

Presiding Judge Kor Vandy said the court would issue a verdict on July 22.

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