Market Tax Tycoon Released on Bail

A prominent businesswoman with exclusive rights to collect taxes at a number of Phnom Penh markets was released on $7,400 bail by the Appeal Court on Friday after more than a month in pretrial detention on breach of trust charges.

Roth Sopheap, 52, whose Roth Sensopheap Company controls tax collection from vendors at Central, Kandal and Prek Pnov markets in Phnom Penh, was arrested in early August after one of her business partners, Ham Mony, filed a complaint with police.

Mr. Mony claims Ms. Sopheap swindled him out of nearly $200,000 when she broke a 13-year contract signed in 2008 allowing him to collect a toll from customers using toilets at Central Market.

“[The release] is just for my client because the court has agreed with the request,” Lim Vanna, Ms. Sopheap’s lawyer, said Sunday.

Mr. Mony did not agree. “I do not understand why the court released Ms. Sopheap,” he said Sunday.

“I think it is an injustice for me and it is unacceptable.” Presiding Judge Pol Samoeun, who granted the request for bail, could not be reached for comment.

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