The news that tycoon Thong Sarath is wanted for questioning over the murder businessman Ung Meng Cheu, has sent a wave of nervousness through investors who have money tied up with the fugitive property developer.
Sarath went into hiding on Wednesday, after the authorities fingered the wealthy businessman as the ringleader in Meng Cheu’s murder.
A cabinet deputy chief at the Ministry of Defence, Sarath is also the president of Meanchey International Investment, with a variety of business interests that include the Borey 999 apartment project.
The company has a dozen real estate developments throughout Phnom Penh, selling both apartments and condos. Each project is at varying levels of completion.
One property buyer, whose $30,000 unit is still under construction at a Borey 999 development in Tuol Kork, said he had serious concerns for his investment after Sarath had been connected to the murder.
“Now, I don’t know what it is going to be. But I hope that even though the owner of the company has a problem, that they will still keep constructing,” he told the Post yesterday, under the condition of anonymity.
Po Eavkong, director general of Asia Real-Estate, an agent selling Borey 999 property, said he had been fielding calls from many nervous investors since Sarath’s involvement in the murder had become public.
“This will impact the confidence of clients,” he said.
Eavkong sought to reassure uneasy property owners by pointing them to a legal requirement of a property developer to deposit 2 per cent of their projects budget in the central bank, to be used to pay out customers in the event the project fails.
Contacted yesterday, a Borey 999 sales agent, who also asked not to named, said that regardless of what happens to Sarath it would be business as usual for the company.
“It is the individual. It will not affect our business operation at all,” she said.
Already living in her villa on Russian Boulevard, one apartment owner was less concerned with her situation as she was paid up in full with the land title in hand, she said.
Nor was she worried about the management of her complex, which was still run by Srath’s company.
“Most of the customers who bought the villas here are mostly oknhas, I don’t think there is [a] problem with us,” she said, referring to the royally bestowed title given to many wealthy businessmen who contribute funding to government projects.
“However, we will still wait to see, meanwhile, if the owner is involved with murder.”
Four of Sarath’s bodyguards have been arrested over the murder.
Meng Cheu, chairman of the Shimmex Group, was gunned down outside of a fruit shop on Sihanouk Boulevard on November 22.