Suspected Pyramid Scam Has Gov’t Contract

Ou Rone says he’s living every man’s dream, and he wants to share it with you. The 25-year-old is quick with a smile, a handshake and a name card advertising a get-rich-quick scheme spreading through the capital.

“I love money. Everybody needs money,” the young entrepreneur said in a recent pitch to a reporter. “But you don’t have to spend a lot of time working at a company to make it.”

Like hundreds of other “independent representatives,” Ou Rone is selling gold and silver watches, commemorative coins and pendants for a company called Questnet International Ltd.

For every new customer he brings to Questnet’s products, he is supposed to earn a small dividend. If that customer joins the Questnet team and recruits another, Ou Rone makes more money. “It is a networking marketing business that can save you time, money and freedom,” he said.

To some, that prom­ise sounds too good to be true.

Claiming a year of business and some 1,700 members in Cam­bodia, Questnet is raising some suspicions.

The Hong Kong-based business has already forged links with the government to mint Cam­bodian commemorative coins, but according to Ho Sa­rann, director of the Ministry of Com­merce’s Legal Affairs Depart­ment, it has no business license.

Opposition lawmaker Son Chhay said Questnet’s business plan and bright promises are identical to those of a few other companies popping up in the capital.

He said he will ask Com­merce Minister Cham Prasidh to look into their legality.

Victims of a similar businesses in Australia were never paid as promised, he said.

Yet Questnet agreed with the Tourism Ministry in September to mint a unique coin with icons like Angkor Wat and King Jaya­rvaman VII. Thong Khon, the ministry’s secretary of state, signed off on that agreement but said last week he was unaware of Questnet’s business model.

“Printing the souvenir coins will be good for tourism,” he said.

And Questnet’s growing army of “independent representatives” are convinced it’s good for them, too.

Ou Rone earned his membership by purchasing a $600 gold watch a month ago and steadily has been pitching his catalogue of products to friends, family and co-workers.

He expects his investment to return tens of thousands of dollars. “This business system can earn a lot of profit,” Ou Rone said.

 

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