Trio Arrested for Fake Gov’t Documents, Stamps

The Interior Ministry’s penal police arrested three men on Thursday in Phnom Penh after confiscating boxes and bags full of forged government seals and documents, including fake bachelor’s degrees.

Penal police chief Eav Rith said three men aged 24 to 52 were being questioned at the Interior Ministry and are accused of forging government letterheads and rubber stamps.

“We are counting the documents and stamps and we have not classified all of them yet,” said Mr. Rith, noting some were from the Education Ministry, including fake diplomas, and others were from the Tourism Ministry.

Mr. Rith added that other documents seized from a home in Daun Penh district’s Phsar Thmei III commune included commune- and provincial-level letterheads and said court prosecutors accompanied police during the raid.

Phsar Thmei III commune chief Buth Thida, who was present at the raid, said officers confiscated “a lot” of documents, which were taken away in bags and boxes.

“I saw that a lot of documents were found in the building and the Interior Ministry police took it all,” Ms. Thida said.

She identified the three suspects as Nov Sakhorn, 52, who was renting the home in her commune, Som Udomreaksmey, 24, and Chab Vanna, 51.

At the home yesterday afternoon, Mr. Sakhorn’s wife professed his innocence, but his son wasn’t so sure.

Nov Samnang, 24, said his father’s friend Mr. Vanna sent the documents to him a long time ago as “samples.” Mr. Samnang said his father told him he would reproduce the samples for Mr. Vanna at his request.

“I’m not sure if my father ever printed any out or not,” said Mr. Samnang, adding police confiscated about 30 to 40 official seals.

“But I think he might have known they were fake.”

Mr. Samnang said his father did not want to refuse holding the samples in his home because Mr. Vanna was trying to raise money to send his children to school.

Sok Khoeun, Mr. Sakhorn’s wife, said her husband has done nothing wrong by being in possession of the forged documents.

“I know that his friend sent him some documents,” she said. “But my husband was not wrong or guilty and I am not sure why police arrested him.”

According to the criminal code, the manufacturing and use of forged stamps is punishable by two to five years in prison. The manufacturing, or use, of forged letterheads is punishable by one month to one year in jail.

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