Former Councilor Arrested for Alleged Fraud

Interior Ministry police arrested a former Phnom Penh deputy governor and municipal councilor on Thursday for questioning over allegations of land fraud, but released him the next day, police said Sunday.

Chea Sothon, who served as a councilor from 2009 until earlier this year and was deputy municipal governor until 2009, is accused of selling a parcel of land in Kandal province that he did not actually own, according to In Bora, chief of the Interior Ministry’s penal police department.

Mr. Bora said the alleged land sale occurred in 2011 or 2012.

“Mr. Sothon is accused of selling the land to a victim in Khsach Kandal district, Kandal province, since 2011 or 2012, but then when the victim asked to get the land, [Mr. Sothon] didn’t have the land—he had just a document,” he said.

Mr. Bora said Mr. Sothon was arrested on Thursday and held overnight after police received a complaint from the victim of the alleged fraud. The former deputy governor was questioned by police on Friday over the case but was released later that day.

“Police let Mr. Sothon go back home after he was questioned on Friday,” he said.

Mr. Sothon could not be reached for comment. City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said he had read about the case in local media, but had no further information about it. Khmer-language Kampuchea Thmey newspaper reported that the fraud involved 30 hectares of land worth $500,000.

“I heard about this case, but I am not very sure about the arrest or why he was arrested,” Mr. Dimanche said.

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