The Phnom Penh Municipal Court charged a man with fraud on Tuesday for allegedly posing as a local police official to con three people out of a combined $1,230 to prepare a variety of government documents.
Men Sovan, 47, gained the trust of the three men by claiming to be the police official in charge of recording criminal activity in Meanchey district’s Stung Meanchey commune, where he lived, commune police chief Mao Savoeun said on Tuesday.
“He told people that he was a statistics officer, and he gave people his name cards, which had his real name and fake position written on them,” he said.
In January, Mr. Sovan allegedly offered to prepare a business license for one of the men for $950 so he could open a guesthouse in the commune. He allegedly took $230 from a second man in April to prepare a family book and birth certificate and $50 from a third man in May to prepare a government ID card.
After months of waiting for the documents, the three men went together to the commune police station on Saturday to find Mr. Sovan and, upon realizing that he did not work there, filed a complaint.
According to the police chief, the three men found Mr. Sovan at his house later that day and took him to the police station, where he claimed to be a soldier registered in Battambang province
“He has nothing to do with police work,” Mr. Savoeun said, adding that he did not know if Mr. Sovan was a soldier, either.
Mr. Sovan was charged with fraud on Monday afternoon and was sent to Prey Sar prison for pretrial detention on Tuesday morning, according to Meanchey district police chief Kim Kalyan.
Deputy commune police chief Sorn Phoeun said Mr. Sovan had been carrying out this scheme for some time and had previously been advised to stop, although police lacked the evidence to arrest him.
“There were cases like this before, but people didn’t file complaints against him,” he said.