Couple Appears in Court Over Tong Tin Fraud

A couple appeared at Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday accused of cheating 130 people out of an estimated $200,000 as part of a tong tin community savings ring in Phnom Penh’s Kandal Market.

Sok Keo Pisey, 30, and her husband Cheam Sam Ath, 42, were detained in October and stand accused of colluding to defraud participants in the informal lending operation, which involves clients depositing an equal sum into a pool before bidding on the interest rate for use of the funds for a fixed period.

Ms. Keo Pisey admitted to being in charge of the tong tin ring in Daun Penh district’s Phsar Kandal I commune since 2011 but said her husband was not involved in running it.

“They bid one by one but I could not pay them back on time,” said Ms. Keo Pisey, who was arrested once she informed her clients she did not have the money to pay them back.

Thirty-two of her alleged victims were in court to witness Tuesday’s hearing. The case will continue on August 14.

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