A Preah Vihear province commune chief who is recovering in hospital from an attempted suicide says he was blackmailed for alleg-edly forging documents that raised the ages of two girls seeking work in Malaysia.
Heng Chey, chief of Rovieng district’s Rohas commune, said he swallowed poison last Thursday after being blackmailed by local lawyers for US$1,000 to drop a court complaint against him for allegedly forging documents to change the age of 14-year-old twins to 21.
Preah Vihear Provincial Court questioned 80-year-old Heng Chey last week in connection with a complaint received from police investigating fraudulent documents that were submitted as part of an application to the recruiting agency T&P for work as maids in Malaysia.
Heng Chey said a lawyer had told him he was accused of unlawful removal of a minor for cross-border transfer and had threatened him with a long jail term if he did not pay $1,000.
“I didn’t know the documents had a birthday change. I just signed them when my villagers asked me to,” he told the Post yesterday.
The documents, which were brought to him by the girls’ father for his signature showed the girls’ birthday as 1990, instead of 1997.
“I decided to kill myself, because I didn’t know how to find the money to pay the lawyer,” Heng Chey said.
The twins’ father, Los Try, who is also the subject of the court complaint, said his daughters had applied to work in Malaysia through T&P but were refused when the company realised the documents were fake.