The director of the Kampong Cham branch of Elton International School was arrested yesterday as 50 students continued to protest in front of the Korean language institute, alleging it had cheated them out of money by making false promises of scholarships and overseas jobs.
Director Choum Rithy, 24, who also oversaw the school’s marketing, was sent to the provincial court yesterday after police questioned him over allegations that he had cheated the students, said Chen Lihong, the province’s deputy police chief.
Chen Lihong said that Choum Rithy had used radio advertisements to drum up interest in the school.
“In the advertisements he said the school would provide everything for the students during their studies. What he said in the ads was not true,” the officer said.
I want my money back. It was very difficult for my family to raise it
The adverts promised US$1,500 scholarships for each student following one or two weeks of study, as well as jobs in South Korea, the officer said. Choum Rithy collected money from students and then sent it to the chain’s director in Phnom Penh, Chen Lihong said, adding that the three other staff at the Kampong Cham branch were not involved in the alleged swindle.
Choum Rithy faces charges of violating human trafficking laws could face from seven to 15 years in jail if found guilty, Chen Lihong said.
The school could also be closed, he said.
Students who paid $150 to enroll at the institute are continuing to call for a refund.
“I just want my money back,” said 18-year-old Pich Lida. “It was very difficult for my family to raise it.”
Earlier this month, students at the chain’s branch in Preah Sihanouk complained to their provincial labour department that they had been cheated by the school.
Chear Sam Nang, Elton International’s director in Phnom Penh, could not be reached for comment.