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Pailin official charged for cheating villagers

Pailin official charged for cheating villagers

A commune council member in Pailin province was put in pre-trial detention on Saturday after he was arrested for cheating dozens of villagers in Salakrav district out of nearly $90,000.

Provincial court spokesman Thol Kemhoeng said on Sunday that Steung Kach commune council member Eng Long, 53, was arrested on Thursday after 49 villagers filed a complaint accusing him of taking between $2,000 and $5,000 from each of them with a promise to include their name in the provincial police’s payroll.

“[Eng Long] has been charged with fraud under Article 378 of the Criminal Code after he admitted to the victims’ accusation,” he said.

The complaint filed by O’roel village chief Kong Srey on behalf of the villagers said Long had lied to them that the provincial police were recruiting more would-be police officers and that he was authorised to nominate villagers. The complaint said Long disappeared after receiving the money.

“Eng Long used his position as a Steung Kach commune councilor to cheat the people and my son by saying that the Pailin provincial police station is hiring many police officers. He claimed he was the one who had the power to include the name of villagers into the list of the provincial police.

“He said villagers would need to put down a deposit of at least $2,000. But after receiving our money, Eng Long had vanished from sight,” Srey said.

Salakrav district police chief Ry Dara said on Sunday that Long was arrested while he was leaving a casino compound next to the Cambodian-Thai border.

He said Long had admitted receiving a total of $89,500 from Srey which he spent on gambling and drinking parties. Hence, he could not repay the villagers.

“I have received $89,500 from O’roel village chief Kong Srey who is also the representative of 49 villagers. I have spent the money on gambling and parties with friends,” Dara said, reading Long’s confession obtained during questioning at the district police station.

If convicted, Long faces a prison sentence of up to three years and a fine of up to six million riel ($1,500).

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