Disgraced tycoon Sok Bun, four commune officials and a village chief have been arrested and charged on multiple counts in relation to the alleged forging of documents to acquire 500ha of community land on Koh Rong, an island off Preah Sihanouk province.
Deputy Prosecutor Kuch Kimlong told The Post on Monday that six people had been forwarded from the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) on Monday to Phnom Penh Municipal Court in relation to a land dispute in Preah Sihanouk province’s Koh Rong town.
The six were Bun, president of the Sokbun Group, Koh Rong commune councillor Ung Nith, Koh Rong commune chief Seng Huorleang, Koh Rong second deputy chief Keo Som, Koh Rong commune councillor Hem Sa Les and Prek Svay village chief Keo Pov.
Prosecutor Kimlong said Bun had been charged with forging public documents, using forged public documents, instigating intentional destruction and embezzlement under articles 629, 630, 601 and 28 of the Criminal Code.
Nith was charged with intentional destruction and embezzlement, misappropriation of public funds, forging public documents and the use of forged public documents, he said.
The four others, Huorleang, Sa Les, Som and Pov, were charged with intentional destruction and embezzlement, forging public documents and using forged public documents.
“I cannot give further details because the case is in the hands of an investigating judge,” Kimlong said.
Nuon Bunthol, the newly promoted Koh Rong governor, on Monday said he had yet to be fully informed of the case, but that ACU officials had arrived on the island two weeks ago.
Kheang Phearum, the spokesperson for Preah Sihanouk province, said he had not received an official report regarding the case and referred questions to the ACU and Phnom Penh Municipal Court.
Villagers interviewed by The Post last month said Bun had used land titles in an attempt to request ownership approval for 500ha he said he had bought from a villager.
However, local authorities said Bun’s documents appeared suspicious and rejected his request for approval.
Villager Han Sok Hai said last month that her family and more than 40 others had lived in the area concerned since 2012.
She said that Bun and his team had attempted to measure the land last year but were stopped by protesting villagers.
“The government gave legal land titles to my family and more than 40 other families who have been living here since 2015. We don’t understand why the tycoon was so bold as to forge documents and attempt to take over our land,” she said last month.
When reached on Monday, Sok Hai said she could not elaborate further on the issue.
Commune chief Hourleang told The Post last month that Bun had a 5ha plot in the area, not 500ha as he had claimed.
He said villagers had sought help from the provincial governor to protect their property.
Prek Svay village chief Pov told The Post last month that no one had 10ha plots in the area, let alone 500ha.
He said he had also rejected Bun’s request for an ownership transfer because the documents appeared suspicious.
Bun was convicted in early 2016 to three years in prison for violently assaulting female TV celebrity Ek Socheata the previous year.
Phnom Penh Municipal court ruled that he serve 10 months in jail with the remainder suspended.