The Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday charged a soldier with fraud for allegedly attempting to pass himself off as a general close to Lieutenant General Hun Manet, eldest son of Prime Minister Hun Sen, and accepting money from others seeking to join Manet’s unit.
According to court spokesman Ly Sophanna, in addition to fraud, soldier Ngun Seng Satya was charged with forging public documents and possessing and using the uniform of a two-star general after being arrested in Phnom Penh’s Prampi Makara district. “The prosecutor has opened the investigation . . . and the investigating judge has decided to place him in pre-trial detention,” Sophanna said.
In a video of Satya speaking to police, the soldier says he bought the uniform at the capital’s Teuk Thla market, a clearinghouse for military goods, simply because he liked it.
“After I wore it and took pictures [of myself] to post on Facebook . . . I went to visit my homeland” in Siem Reap, he tells police. “At that time, brothers who were students contacted me and ap-plied to be soldiers [in Manet’s unit] through me, and some people paid $500 or $1,000, but I did not . . . demand it from them – they volunteered to pay.”
He also said he had made a chain-of-command flowchart – purporting to show him just two steps removed from Manet – just “to look at, without any intention of doing anything” with it.
Rath Srieng, Phnom Penh military police chief, could not be reached. Eng Hy, national military police spokesman, said he was unaware of the case.