A former commune chief in Kampong Chhnang province was arrested on Thursday over allegations he pocketed $250,000 after offering to sell land owned by villagers or the state, police said yesterday.
Chea Chhoeung, the former commune chief of Rolea Ba’ier district’s Svay Chrum commune, was arrested on charges of fraud and faking public documents, Brigadier General Ath Khen, provincial police chief said.
“He was arrested by the police while driving with his wife in Kampong Chhnang town,” Khem said.
District police officer Kong Sareth said that according to a complaint filed by a property buyer last month, Chhoeung – who is now a member of Rolea Ba’ier District Council – promised in 2010 to secure 1,300 hectares of land in Tumpour, Thong Kambot and Tuol Trea villages for the man, but had not done so.
“Based on that promise, the victim paid him $250,000,” Sareth said, adding that Chhoeung was commune chief at the time of the alleged deal.
“But when the victim travelled to the area to view his land, the suspect pointed at other villagers’ land and tried to pass it off as his own. In fact, there was no land – the suspect had not arranged any.”
Chhoeung was being investigated for allegedly trying to source state-owned forest land to sell as part of the deal and for trying to buy land from villagers to sell at an inflated price, Sareth said.
He did not, however, have any success in securing property, but kept the money anyway, he added.
To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at [email protected]