Fake-Gold, Currency Ring Busted in Koh Kong

Koh Kong provincial police on Wednesday arrested four Vietnamese nationals accused of duping vendors out of thousands of dollars by exchanging fake gold and money, police said Thursday.

Lay Menglaing, chief of the provincial minor crimes bureau, said police were still searching for another two members of the fraud ring.

“When they showed the [gold] necklace to the sellers, they showed them a real necklace, but after the sellers agreed that the gold was real and gave the necklace back, the suspects switched it with a fake,” said Mr. Menglaing, adding the same scheme was used with fake U.S. dollars exchanged for Thai baht.

“They were experts in this.”

Mr. Menglaing said the group would split into pairs and hit separate shops to maximize their profits.

On Wednesday morning in Khemara Phoumint City, a pair of suspects duped a vendor in Smach Meanchey commune’s Dong Tong Market, selling them a fake gold necklace for $1,300, said Mr. Menglaing.

Hours later, in nearby Koh Kong district, another pair of suspects in Koh Kapi commune exchanged $9,000 worth of fake U.S. currency for Thai baht.

Sum Yiem, Koh Kong district police chief, said all four were arrested as they attempted to meet up in his district on National Road 48 at about 1 p.m.

“They were arrested when they tried to flee into their escape boat,” he said.

“The suspects are still being detained at the provincial police station for future questioning.”

Mr. Yiem identified the arrested suspects as Le Tan Lich, 40, Huynh Ngoc Thanh, 40, Nguyen Van Manh, 28, and Nguyen Van Thoai, 35. He would not name the two other suspects, a Vietnamese man and woman, because police are still searching for them.

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