Military Police arrested three men in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district on Wednesday for fraudulently pretending to collect donations on behalf of the ruling CPP for student volunteers enrolled in the nationwide land-titling program, officials said.
Phnom Penh Deputy Military Police Chief Pong Savrith said that Ream Sophoeun, 37; Thy Yimork, 60; and Vann Deth, 45, were caught trying to extort money from the management of a Sethapana Limited Microfinance Bank branch.
The bank made a complaint after the men asked for money using a letter adorned with the Phnom Penh Municipality’s logo and signed by a man named Chan Samith, Mr. Savrith said.
The letter, a copy of which was posted on a local news website, asks for a donation of unspecified supplies and “$100 in cash” to the ruling CPP’s Central Committee Working Group for Phnom Penh, to be distributed to student volunteers in Prime Minister Hun Sen’s land-titling project.
“Please, president of the company, provide a donation following this request,” the letter reads.
Mr. Savrith said the name Chan Samith was unknown to authorities, who believe the three are fraudsters. “This is a fraud case, and according to the law, Military Police can detain them for 48 hours to investigate before we send them to the court,” he said.
Mr. Savrith said police believed there are other suspects involved in the fraud, possibly even the individual named Chan Samith.
“Their activities affect the Cambodian People’s Party,” he added.
Meanchey district Military Police Chief Sieng Chay said the suspects had told police they had been collecting funds for the CPP for a long time. “They tricked the business, saying that they are collecting funds for Prime Minister Hun Sen’s youth volunteers, but it’s not true,” Mr. Chay said.