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Siem Reap fraudster charged

Prime Minister Hun Sen’s wife Bun Rany attends a ceremony at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh in February. Bun Rany’s name is said to have been used by a fraudster in Siem Reap province.

She not only cheated people outside the prison, but also in the prison

A woman in Siem Reap province has been arrested and charged with fraud after posing as an associate of First Lady Bun Rany and convincing local residents to pay her to utilise her alleged connections.

Siem Reap provincial prosecutor Ty Soveinthal said the woman was well known for her exploits, having defrauded a number of people in her town who paid her in exchange for promised favours based on her connections to high-ranking officials.

“She has cheated other people many times already,” Ty Soveinthal said. “She always used the names of high-ranking officials and also the prime minister’s wife to cheat people.”

The suspect – 45-year-old Seng Leakhana, also known as Ly Leakhana – was arrested and charged last week.

Siem Reap deputy provin-cial police chief Sok Khemarin said her con was well-practised, and that she had even used it on fellow inmates at the provincial prison following her arrest last Thursday.

The deputy police chief claimed Seng Leakhana had convinced other inmates at the prison to promise her US$6,000 in total in exchange for securing their release with the help of high-ranking officials in the Cambodian government.

“She not only cheated people outside the prison, but also in the prison,” Sok Khemarin said. “She has good experience cheating people using the names of senior officials.”

Ty Soveinthal said Seng Leakhana’s typical tactic was  to display falsified photos of herself with high-ranking officials, including Bun Rany, as proof of her alleged connections.

“There are some victims who lost hundreds of thous-ands of dollars because they wanted the perpetrator to help them get promoted in their positions. They saw her photos with high-ranking officials, so they thought she could help them,” he said.

“We have received many complaints from victims who want to sue this woman, and hearings in her case will begin within the next five or six months.”

Lim Leang Se, deputy chief of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s cabinet, could not be reached for comment yesterday, nor could a spokesman for the Cambodian Red Cross, which is headed by Bun Rany.



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