A moneylender and three of her employees were arrested in Mondolkiri province’s Sen Monorom City on Saturday after they allegedly dismantled and confiscated a client’s wooden shack the day before, officials said on Sunday.
Khvoeung Khort, 28, an ethnic Bunong farmer, accused Phon Nary, 51, of removing his home from his property in Sokdum commune while he and his family were visiting relatives in Kompong Cham province on Friday, according to city police chief Kann Penh.
“After we received the complaint, I sent my officials to lead the investigation and found that the accusation from the victim was true,” Mr. Penh said.
He said police arrested Ms. Nary at her house at about midday, along with three men she had ordered to disassemble the farmer’s shack: Bros Vorn, 45, Meas Sao, 32, and Sok At, 22.
“This is a serious violation of the law,” Mr. Penh said. “If the family of the victim had been unable to pay off the debt, [Ms. Nary] should have filed a complaint with authorities, asking them to find the solution. She can’t use her power and money to confiscate their property.”
He added that Ms. Nary’s aggression had likely been meant to serve as a warning to others who might owe her money.
According to the police chief, Mr. Khort’s family received a $2,300 loan from Ms. Nary in February.
“After the victim failed to pay the interest last month, the suspect calculated that the capital and interest increased [the total owed] to $4,300,” he said, leading the lender to take decisive action.
Deputy provincial police chief So Sovann said the four suspects were being held at the provincial police headquarters and would be sent to court this morning.
“Ms. Nary confessed to ordering the removal of the victim’s house because she wanted to put pressure on her client to pay her,” Mr. Sovann said, adding that he would recommend that the suspects be charged with “intentionally causing damage,” which carries a prison sentence of six months to two years.