A 66-YEAR-OLD man was sentenced to three years in jail at Kampot provincial court on Wednesday for extorting money and gifts from local residents on the pretence that he was the late Prince Norodom Naradipo.
Kampot provincial deputy prosecutor Seang Sok said that although the province had seen similar cases of fraud in the past, appropriating the identity of a member of the royal family was particularly egregious. Prince Naradipo, a son of King Father Norodom Sihanouk and half-brother of King Norodom Sihamoni, was born in 1946 and died under the Khmer Rouge regime.
“This man impersonated the King’s relative in order to cheat the villagers and convince them to give him money,” Seang Sok said. “This could affect the King’s reputation, so the court charged the man with fraud.”
Tep Vanna, head of the Kampot provincial military police, said police had apprehended the suspect, Prum Sokkak, after receiving complaints about him from local residents. Prum Sokkak, who had apparently been running similar schemes throughout the country, was thwarted when his wife arrived and identified him, he added.
Prince Sisowath Thomico, assistant to the King Father, said in an email that Prum Sokkak was “not the first” fraudster to impersonate the late Prince Naradipo.
“The identity problems in Cambodia is in fact a direct and lasting consequence of the Khmer Rouge regime,” Prince Thomico said. “Thousands of people have since changed their names or have taken other persons’ identities. To my knowledge, there is no law to deal with this problem.”