Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Arrest warrants issued for three over Koh Kong land sale

Arrest warrants issued for three over Koh Kong land sale

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Over 30 families involved in the case gather at the Koh Kong Provincial Court on Friday. Photo supplied

Arrest warrants issued for three over Koh Kong land sale

The Koh Kong Provincial Court has identified and issued arrest warrants for three people involved in the illegal sale of land plots to people in the province.

The three – Ban Panha, Phorn Tikea and Ly Bun Raththy – are allegedly involved in the sale of land plots that do not rightfully belong to them. The case involves land in Khemarak Phoumin town’s Smach Meanchey commune, whose rightful owners remained unknown, officials said.

Provincial deputy governor Sok Sothy told The Post on December 7 that the residents first sought an intervention from the provincial administration. But because the case involved a contract dispute between them and a company, it urged them to file a lawsuit instead.

Sothy said both buyers and the firm in question had something hidden. He said the firm first installed posters advertising sale of land plots. But after an inspection the authority found that there was no proper approval from the relevant authorities, prompting the provincial administration to order a halt to the land sale.

He explained that upon seeing the advertisement and hearing about the land sale, the victims approached the firm and signed land purchase contracts. The authorities were not aware of the sale as it was done without any proper documentation.

Sothey said that as of December 7, the provincial authorities were still working to identify the firm, its owner and the rightful landowners.

“We have instructed the relevant authorities to continue searching for the real landowner and find out who put up advertisements to sell the land plots.

“They are also working to determine the relationship between the company and the landowners, which can serve as a clue to help people use it as evidence to the court,” said Sothy.

Pich Bak, one of the victims, said about 30 families had thumbprinted a petition to the provincial authorities and have also filed a complaint to the provincial court.

Bak said he wanted to buy the land after seeing the advertisement which said buyers would pay a deposit of only $6,000 with a $300 monthly instalment for 20 months if they purchase two plots of land. The advertisement also claimed that the land title would be issued by the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction.

“I have been paying $300 a month for eight months, and have paid more than $8,000 in total, including the down payment of more than $6,000,” he said.

Bak, who identified the firm as Business Independent Distributor Co, Ltd (BID), said about 70 families bought around 200 plots of land.

“Most victims are unaware that the owner of BID had escaped. This is because some of them stay in Poi Pet town [in Banteay Meanchey province] and Preah Sihanouk province, and others are currently working in Thailand. They wanted to have land for doing business, so they pay instalment for this purpose,” he said.

Another victim, Heng Phearak, accused the BID of being a fraudster.

He said the firm claimed to have split land of nearly 50,000sqm into plots for sale in Boeung Khun Chhang village, in Khemarak Phoumin town’s Smach Meanchey district.

The BID, he said, started collecting payments in February this year, but a few months after the sale no land plot was handed over to land buyers and the company owner escaped.

“I brought my relative to buy four plots of land, two plots of which are paid for while the other two are paid with an instalment of $500 per month. I have paid for three months,” he said.

Phearak said two employees of the firm were arrested and sent to the provincial court, but were later released after being cleared of any involvement.

Provincial court deputy prosecutor Un Sovantheany said that after receiving and examining the case, as well as questioning the company employees and the plaintiff, the court determined that there was no evidence to charge the two employees for being involved in the case.

“All sales documents and letters were made between the customer [victims] and the company owner. There is no evidence that the [two] employees are involved,” he said.

He said that based on the principle of criminal liability, an individual is criminally liable only for his or her actions.

“Therefore, it does not mean that employees would be held accountable if the company owner commits a crime and escapes, even if the employees are relatives of the owner. The important thing is to check if the employee had bad intention and participated in the crime,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Two luxury hotels latest quarantine options for inbound travellers

    The Inter-Ministerial Committee to Combat Covid-19 has designated two luxury hotels as alternative quarantine options for travellers who wish to enter Cambodia through Phnom Penh International Airport – Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel & Residence and the Courtyard by Marriott Phnom Penh. In a notice detailing guidelines issued

  • Time to avert disastrous Covid situation: officials

    The Covid-19 situation in Cambodia is heading towards further large-scale community transmission as the total number of confirmed cases is nearing 61,000 and the death toll passed 900 on July 10, senior health officials warned. Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine expressed concern that the country was going

  • Visa A holders get to quarantine at Himawari Hotel

    The Ministry of Health has permitted foreign diplomats, UN and International NGO officials to undergo quarantine at Himawari Hotel in the capital in case they do not have a separate place suitable for this purpose, but the government would not be responsible for the expenses.

  • Baby saved as mother is lost to Covid

    Newborn baby Neth David has had a rough start in the world. His mother, Vong Daneth, was seven months pregnant when she contracted a severe case of Covid-19. When it became clear to her doctors that she would not survive, they performed a cesarean section

  • Jabs for kids bring hope for school reopenings

    Cambodia is tentatively planning to reopen schools – at least at the secondary level – when the vaccination of children aged 12-17 is completed, even though daily transmissions and deaths in other age groups remain high. Schools across the country have been suspended since March 20, one month

  • Hun Sen: Get 12-17 age group ready for Covid jabs

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has told parents of children aged 12-17 in Phnom Penh and the provinces of Kandal and Preah Sihanouk to get them ready for vaccinations soon. “There is a need to vaccinate children and youths aged 12 to 17. According to the statistics provided