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NGO worker arrested for extortion

A man was arrested on Sunday for alleged extortion and defrauding thousands of dollars from villagers in Preah Vihear’s Choam Ksan district, officials said yesterday.

According to District Governor Chea Kimseng, Seng Bona, 41, a staffer at a local conservation NGO, had insulted authorities, extorted money from timber transporters and prohibited villagers from farming land.

Bona allegedly demanded villagers pay him up to $100 to join his NGO, money that was not used for NGO business. “We investigated for a month,” Kimseng continued, adding that Bona and two others were interrogated, though only Bona was detained.

Bona allegedly confessed his NGO is headquartered in Takeo, where he sent the money, Kimseng said, adding that Bona was found with press credentials for Prampi Makara Newspaper, which could not be reached yesterday.

Kang Sao Kun, the provincial military police commander, said Bona is being held and would be sent to court today. “He halted vehicles and demanded money,” Sokun said, adding that “about 20 villagers sued him” after the arrest. Authorities are pursuing suspected accomplices.

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