Kampong Cham provincial authorities are searching for the son of a three-star general over allegations that he defrauded 31 monks and religious students of $140,000 earlier this year.
Kampong Cham Provincial Deputy Police Chief Heng Vuthy said the alleged fraudster, Colonel Hem Chakrya, works as a personal adviser to his father, Hem Theng, a deputy director and general at the Department of Immigration.
According to Vuthy, 31 people filed a complaint against Chakrya on August 25 accusing him of promising them jobs in the National Police force in exchange for $3,000 to $4,500 each.
The alleged victims also accused a monk, Seng Sary, from Norkor Bachey pagoda in Kampong Siem district, of helping Chakrya collect the money. He was arrested later that day and sent to pretrial detention on charges of being an accomplice of fraud, Vuthy said. Kampong Siem religious officials decided to defrock him the same day.
Meanwhile, Kampong Cham provincial prosecutors issued a first summons for Chakrya yesterday.
“Now judicial police are seeking the suspect Hem Chakrya in order to bring him in to clarify the case at court,” Vuthy said.
Sum Sarom, 29, from Kampong Siem district’s Koh Raka commune, said he took out a $3,000 loan based on the promise that Chakrya could find him a job in the police organisation.
“Because of our trust in the monk and powerful people who would not damage their reputation and dignity, we decided to get a loan with the hope that we will be able to get a position in National Police framework to serve the country and people,” Sarom said.
Immigration Department spokesman Kerm Sarin said yesterday the case “does not involve this institution even though [Chakrya] is one of our officials”. He added that Chakrya’s pledges were entirely fictional and that the department is not recruiting employees.
“If the court discovers that [Chakrya] made a mistake, he needs to take responsibility because the institution did not ask him to commit a crime,” Sarin said.
Hem Theng could not be reached yesterday. However, he told government-aligned media outlet Fresh News that he was not involved in his son’s alleged scam and called on the authorities to implement the law against him “without mercy”.