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Officials accused of pillaging villa

A FORMERLY well-heeled resident of Russey Keo district says that local authorities robbed her of hundreds of thousands of dollars in jewellery and removed US$2 million worth of property last week while serving a Supreme Court warrant to evict her from her villa.

Hang Borey said $60,000 in cash and $260,000 worth of jewellery were removed from her home during the raid on Friday, along with $2 million worth of other property.

“They removed all my property – I’ve lost everything now,” Hang Borey said. “I was not informed in advance about my removal from the villa.”

Hang Borey said her partner, Yors Sokuntheary, purchased the villa in 2007 from the brother of its Chinese owner, who was serving a jail term overseas. She added, however, that she never received a land title or a deed to the property. Hang Borey says that after the original owner returned to Cambodia, he took her to court in 2008 to get his property back, and that the Supreme Court ruled in his favour earlier this year.

The home’s original owner has since transferred his rights to the property to Sok Kong, president of the Sokimex development company, Hang Borey said. She added that she had filed a complaint against Sok Kong to Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Russey Keo deputy Governor Koub Sleh said district officials were simply following the Supreme Court’s ruling.

“I have no right to talk about the court’s decision. We were just following the court’s warrant,” he said.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court deputy prosecutor Hing Bunchea said he had not seen any money or jewellery lying around the house when local officials entered to serve the warrant.

Sok Kong could not be reached for comment.

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