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.