The Kandal Provincial Court on Sunday placed six imposters who dressed as monks and their driver in pre-trial detention on fraud charges.
Provincial court spokesman So Sarin told The Post that the six impostors who were dressed in saffron robes, and carried satchels and alms bowls were driven around by an accomplice to collect alms from people in the provinces.
Five of the accused – Ses Dy, 25; Sorn Chheurt, 20; Chroeb Mean, 19; Hun Run, 18, and Sorn Tin 26, are from Kampot province’s Sre Chea Kang Choeung commune in Dang Tong district, Sarin said.
Another impostor, 35-year-old Tieb Sokmao, is from Prey Veng province’s Kampong Soeng commune in Preah Sdech district, while their driver, Chheang Chorvy, is from Battambang province’s O’Taki commune in Dang Tong district.
Sarin said police from Kandal province’s Ang Snuol district arrested the seven on March 27 while they were gathering for a party with drugs and alcohol at a rented room in a guesthouse in the district’s Kralanh Touch Village.
The following day, prosecutor Sou Socheata charged them with wearing the robes illegally under articles 377 and 378 of the Criminal Code.
“On Sunday, Judge Blong Visal charged them with fraud and ordered judicial police officials to detain the suspects in pre-trial detention at Kandal prison,” Socheata said.
A district police official said police forces received a report on March 26 that from an owner of Maheng Guesthouse.
The report said the group of people stayed in the guesthouse for a week. In the morning, they dressed as monks and at night, they gathered for a drinking party.
On Sunday, the police conducted an investigation and watched the six imposters. Later in the day, the police found them driving the same car they had used earlier to the guesthouse.
Having seen their actions, the police requested the prosecutor to intervene. They then raided the room where the accused were staying and found drug-smoking paraphernalia, robes, alms bowls and satchels. The suspects were apprehended immediately.
The suspects confessed to posing as monks and collecting alms in provinces across the country.
They said they had been engaged in this activity for over three months and that they were previously construction workers in Thailand. When they returned to Cambodia, they said they contacted each other on Facebook and gathered to learn and recite prayers.
Once they memorised the prayers, they bought saffron robes, alms bowls and satchels and shaved their head to pose as monks.
Chorvy, the driver, demanded $5 per day for petrol, and any money left was shared between the seven accomplices.