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19 charged in fisheries building sale scam

19 charged in fisheries building sale scam

PHNOM Penh Municipal Court has charged 19 people for using forged documents in an attempt to sell the government's Fisheries Administration offices on Norodom Boulevard, court officials said Thursday.

"Seventeen suspects were charged with using forged public documents. The additional two, who are believed to be the masterminds of the fraud plot [and include] RCAF Lieutenant-Colonel Saphan Dara ... were charged with forging documents," said deputy prosecutor Kry Sok Y.

Investigating Judge Chan Madyna is expected to rule soon on whether the suspects will be detained pending trial, but could not be reached for comment Thursday.

National Police Commissioner Mok Chito told the Post that "it might be too late for the court to release a warrant to detain [the suspects]," but he was confident the court would work on the case "in a careful way".

Sok Sam Oeun, director of the Cambodian Defenders Project, said the suspects could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Yong Kim Eng, president of the People's Centre for Development & Peace, said that the attempted fraud was a sign of wider problems facing the country.

"Land speculation is a big concern.... Public property belongs to the people, not to individuals," he said.

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