Kampot provincial police arrested four men on Tuesday for allegedly extorting thousands of dollars from villagers through a scam involving the sale of fake magical objects.
Sao Sameoun, deputy chief of the provincial justice department, said that the suspects tricked several villagers into believing they were businessmen attempting to sell magical goods.
The objects included small stone cows and bones, actually worth around 5,000 riel (US$1.25) each, which they claimed could bring good luck.
“One suspect would dial a random number and inform the villager that they were attempting to sell magical objects and if the villager could help them find buyers then they would pay them for their efforts,” said Sao Sameoun.
After this, he said, another suspect would call the same villager claiming they were looking to buy magical objects.
The buyer would then say that they did not have enough money to purchase the magic goods and borrow money from the villager, allowing them to keep the objects as collateral until the loan could be repaid. “Some victims lost US$3,000 to $4,000,” he said.