At least two women and five men are in custody at Siem Reap provincial police headquarters amid allegations they ran an unlicensed investment firm.
The arrests, which followed a Wednesday statement by the provincial governor warning citizens to be vigilant with their money, took place at 8pm on Saturday at the Siem Reap Town Hotel in Banteay Chas village.
“We cooperated with provincial police and were led by deputy prosecutor Sok Keo Bandith after we received information from our officials,” said Soeun Sem, chief of the Siem Reap Economic Police.
Sem said the company, Empire Big Capital, which describes itself as a “fund management company” on its website, offered its clients 10 per cent interest rates on a range of investment packages – from $2,000 to $10,000 – over an 18-month period. After questioning those involved, officers found that the company was operating without proper paperwork.
“After a few hours of questioning, we found they were unlicensed,” Sem said. “The operation seems fraudulent, as they offer high interest rates. In order to buy their investment package, some people borrowed money from other banks, so it caused them to fall more seriously into debt.”
Police also found paperwork detailing the company’s financial transactions. They seized two motorbikes and two cars.
Sem added police were currently investigating any accomplices. He added that despite the firm’s head office being located in Phnom Penh, he could not confirm whether the capital branch is operating illegally.