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Loan shark fingered in Mondulkiri arson case

Family members stand on a plot of land in Mondulkiri where their home was situated before it was destroyed by money lenders. Photo supplied
Family members stand on a plot of land in Mondulkiri where their home was situated before it was destroyed by money lenders. Photo supplied

Loan shark fingered in Mondulkiri arson case

Four people were arrested on suspicion of arson in Mondulkiri’s Sen Monorom town yesterday after the home of an ethnic Phnong family heavily indebted to a loan shark was razed to the ground.

Sen Monorom police chief Kan Pench identified the suspects as money lender Phon Nary, 51; Meas Soa, 31; Sok Ath, 22; and Pros Von, 45.

“If they destroyed someone’s house or property, it is illegal, even if the victim borrowed money. The lender could have filed a complaint to the court or the police if the victim did not pay the money back,” Pench said, adding that husband Kvert Khot, 28, and wife Oun Sopheap, 26 – who live with their 8- and 4-year-old daughters – were two months behind on repayments.

Khot said the family had borrowed $2,300 from Nary, and agreed to pay back in $100 instalments, plus $35 per month interest.

“But they forced me to pay $800 a month,” Khot said yesterday. “I’m not able to pay $800 a month. . . . I missed two payments and on July 22, while my family was farming, they came to destroy my house completely . . . How can I live and save money to pay them?”

Provincial Adhoc coordinator Sok Ratha said that since they had borrowed without a formal contract, it would be very difficult to resolve the situation.

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