Foreigners Sentenced Over $15K Fake Rupees

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday sentenced two foreign nationals—a Briton and a Bangladeshi—to eight and six years in prison respectively for their involvement in the circulation of about 1 million counterfeit Indian rupees (about $15,705).

Presiding Judge Keo Mony announced an eight-year sentence for Muhamed Suhmei Kuthbdeen, a 51-year-old British national, for circulating counterfeit currency, and a six-year sentence for Azad Abul Kalam, a 32-year-old Bangladeshi national, for conspiracy to circulate the fake money.

Police escort Briton Muhamed Suhmei Kuthbdeen, left, and Bangledeshi Azad Abul Kalam into a prison vehicle outside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
Police escort Briton Muhamed Suhmei Kuthbdeen, left, and Bangledeshi Azad Abul Kalam into a prison vehicle outside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

“The court decided to sentence Mr. Azad Abul Kalam, 32, to six years in prison, and Mr. Muhamed Suhmei Kuthbdeen, 51, to eight years in prison,” Judge Mony said.

Outside the courtroom, Mr. Kuthbdeen rejected Judge Mony’s decision, claiming that the court lacked evidence to inculpate him.

“It’s a f–king, f–king s–t decision,” he told a reporter as he was led by police to a prison vehicle, adding there was “no evidence.”

When asked whether he would appeal the court’s decision, Mr. Kuthbdeen responded, “Yes, I do.”

Judge Mony could not be reached for comment Monday.

Both of the convicted men were arrested on December 6, 2013, according to a court document.

The arrests followed a tip from the owner of the Kaing Leng currency exchange shop in Prampi Makara district’s O’Russei II commune, who claimed the pair had exchanged fake rupees for $5,000, according to Horn Vibol, the deputy police chief of Prampi Makara district.

“At that time, both suspects exchanged rupees for about $5,000,” Mr. Vibol said.

“Later, the shop owner did an examination and learned that the money was fake and filed a complaint with police,” he added.

After the complaint was filed, Mr. Vibol said the owner of Kaing Leng called Mr. Kalam and asked him to come back to the shop to exchange more money.

Police arrested him when he did.

Mr. Kalam then led police to Mr. Kuthbdeen, who was arrested at a guesthouse near Phsar Thmei in Daun Penh district, where a bag of full of counterfeit rupees was found.

“I just remember that police found nearly 1 million fake rupees there,” Mr. Vibol said.

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