Duong Tara, arrested in 1998 for posing as a member of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s staff, was arrested by military police on Monday for again impersonating a staffer as part of a scam to relieve poor farmers of their money, authorities said.
The 42-year-old was apprehended by military police near the prime minister’s residence in Phnom Penh after authorities were tipped off that he was posing as a lieutenant colonel in Hun Sen’s bodyguard unit, municipal military police Commander Ya Kim Y said on Tuesday.
On Friday, Duong Tara approached a group of protesters that had gathered in the park opposite the premier’s house seeking his intervention in their land dispute in Kompong Speu province. Introducing himself as a bodyguard of the prime minister, Duong Tara said he could have the villagers’ paperwork handed to Hun Sen and his wife, Bun Rany, and their dispute would be solved for a fee of $2,000.
When Duong Tara demanded a down payment of just $300, the villagers became suspicious and reported him to police, Ya Kim Y said.
“After our investigation, we checked his name on the list of the prime minister’s bodyguards and the Ministry of Defense, but we did not find it,” Ya Kim Y said.
On Tuesday, Duong Tara was apprehended again near the prime minister’s residence, Ya Kim Y said.
Municipal Military Police have charged Duong Tara with impersonating a military officer, faking a military rank and possessing fake documents and uniform, he said.
In a second case of police impersonation, a 41-year-old cattle smuggler was arrested last week in Kompong Cham province for posing as a police officer and carrying a weapon to aid his smuggling operation between Cambodia and Vietnam, said Kompong Cham provincial Deputy police Chief Seng Sokim.
Seng Sokim said the man donned a police uniform and gun to make his smuggling easier. “But in fact, he was a simple villager,” he said.