Men Accused of Forging Land Transfer Papers

Two men, one of them an RCAF colonel, have been arrested and charged with forging documents for their part in an alleged il­legal Phnom Penh land-grab that in­volved corrupt court officials, police said Monday.

Laywer Pang Sothea, 43, and Colonel Hang Vanny, 41, were pre­­sented at a news conference by Municipal Police Commissioner Heng Pov who said they were ta­ken into custody 2 days earlier.

Chief Prosecutor Ouk Savuth said the men have been charged with forgery.

“This is a serious case that may de­stroy the government’s foreign in­­­­vestment policy, so my mission is to do some court reform,” Heng Pov told reporters at the event.

The two men allegedly created fake land transfer documents in or­der to deprive a Taiwanese in­ves­tor of his legal rights to an 8-hec­tare Russei Keo district property.

Heng Pov said the case began when Tann Seng Hak filed a lawsuit alleging that the absent Taiwanese investor owed him $60,000, police said.

Pang Sothea, working on behalf of Tann Seng Hak, and the colonel then forged a property transfer doc­u­ment saying the investor had transferred the property to the co­lo­nel, who was masquerading as a Tai­wan­ese businessman named Ly Pav.

Heng Pov alleged that court officials then colluded to create a false legal settlement awarding Tann Seng Hak the fictional Ly Pav’s property as compensation for his nonexistent $60,000 debt.

Heng Pov said he is searching for Tann Seng Hak, and he al­leged that the Ministry of Justice would investigate court clerk Chuon Vanchan and Judge Sao Mach.

Pang Sothea admitted at the news conference that the colonel’s thumbprint was on the transfer doc­ument but denied that his cli­ent, Tann Seng Hak, was in­volved.

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