Tycoon Reported Facing New Legal Troubles

Cambodian tycoon Teng Bun­ma may have more legal problems to add to his plate. The often-controversial businessman is wanted for investigation of fraud in Hong Kong and is facing a civil case in Singapore, according to a report in the Far Eastern Economic Review.

The businessman already faces an arrest warrant from Thailand and a ban from entering the US because of “overwhelming” evidence that he has been involved in narcotics trafficking, the magazine reported.

Teng Bunma, who was unavailable for comment Monday, has denied any involvement in the drug trade and has never been charged with violation of drug trafficking laws.

The Hong Kong and Singapore allegations a­gainst the Phnom Penh’s Cham­ber of Commerce president, also a key supporter of Prime Min­ister Hun Sen, comes at an awkward time for the government as it prepares to present its best face for entry into the regional grouping Asean in Hanoi.

“The government does not support bad guys,” said Prak Sokh­onn, an outgoing Hun Sen adviser. When asked if the government considers Teng Bunma to be a bad guy Prak Sokhonn answered, “I don‘t know, you have to have proof first.”

The weekly Far Eastern Econ­omic Review cites official Hong Kong company documents indicating that Teng Bunma used a false name, false date of birth, fake passport and nationality to get a visa and identification papers and to register his company, Thai Boon Roong.

A civil case against Teng Bun­ma and one of his companies was supposed to start Dec 3 in Sing­apore. They are accused of violating trademark laws in cigarette trading, the Review reported.

Chinese and Singaporean em­bassy officials in Phnom Penh said they had not heard of the allegations.

Teng Bunma is already considered a fugitive from justice in Thailand, where an arrest warrant reportedly was issued June 22, according to the Review. He is charged with fraud for allegedly providing false information to obtain a Thai-national identity card and passports under two different names: Teng Bunma and Vinai Bunma.

Teng Bunma could not be reached for response Monday. An aide in his office said he had left for Hong Kong on Monday. Immigration police at Poch­entong Airport said that his name was not on immigration rolls to leave the country. The Thai arrest warrant has been sent to Interpol, leaving him subject to arrest and extradition if he leaves Cambodia, the Review stated.­

The co-owner of Phnom Penh’s Intercontinental Hotel has acknowledged giving tens of millions of dollars to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s election campaign. He also gave about $1 million to Hun Sen’s government in an effort to restore security after fighting in the capital in July 1997.

In April 1997, Teng Bunma shot out a tire of a Royal Air Cam­bodge plane after a dispute over lost luggage.


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