Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Eighteen suspects sent to court for fishy forgery attempt

Eighteen suspects sent to court for fishy forgery attempt

Eighteen suspects sent to court for fishy forgery attempt

Former govt officials, police and military officers are in court for allegedly trying to sell the Fisheries Administration office

Master Mind

Mak Chito said the testimonies of the first individuals taken into

custody led to the arrest of Saphan Dara, who Mak Chito called the

group's "mastermind". According to the official, all individuals have

confessed to their role in the plot.

EIGHTEEN suspects in police custody for an alleged attempt to sell the Fisheries Administration's office were sent to court Wednesday to testify and to hear the accusations against them.

National Police Commissioner Mak Chito told the Post that 17 of the suspects were questioned in the morning, while Saphan Dara, 34, an RCAF lieutenant colonel who is believed to be the mastermind of th fraud plot, was expected to be sent to court alone later in the day. The suspects include military personel and police officers, as well as current and former government officials.

The 18 are accused of involvement in a plot to sell the offices of the Agriculture Ministry's Fisheries Administration on the corner of Phnom Penh's Norodom and Sothearos boulevards - prime city centre real estate estimated to be worth hundreds of dollars per square metre - through an elaborate scam that involved multiple forgeries.

According to police sources, the group was attempting to sell fake documents that would have authorised the sale of the offices and then taken money off the commissions.

Our duty is to find and arrest the

suspects and bring them to court.

Up to the court now

"Our duty is to find and arrest the suspects and bring them to court," Mak Chito said, adding,  "We expect the court will not release them."

Nhao Thuok, the director of the Fisheries Administration, said the police worked hard finding and arresting the "opportunists".

He said that he strongly believed that the court will sentence the suspects based on the rule of law.

"The police arrested the suspects and sent to them to court, and the court will punish them," Nhao Thuok told the Post.

From all walks of life

Among the suspects in custody are Men Vichet, 55, a one-star general; Tea Kong, 49, a soldier; Hok Heng, 36, a police officer; Chea Kim Ly, 50, a police officer; Beng Hong Socheat Sela, 41, a land title official; Soung Visith, 40, a former Ministry of Industry Mines and Energy official; Kong Chor, 53, a Senate official; Chau Chek Kamsoth, 49, the president of the Saving Ordinary People Committee; and Hean Soda, 41, a designer and broker. Seven other brokers have also been detained.

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