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Village chief arrested over land deal

Purported Village Chief Un Heng (right), 56, has been arrested for alleged embezzlement over a land deal in Kampong Thom.
Purported Village Chief Un Heng (right), 56, has been arrested for alleged embezzlement over a land deal in Kampong Thom. Photo supplied

Village chief arrested over land deal

A village chief is in jail and a commune chief is reportedly on the run in Kampong Thom province over the alleged illegal sale of a plot of land.

The chief of Trall village, Un Heng, 56, and resident Chea Sivnai, 42, both of Baray district’s Balaing commune, have been charged with “embezzlement of items seized or pledged” under Article 397 of the Criminal Code, according to Kampong Thom court spokesman Say Nora. The charge deals with destroying or misappropriating items seized by a competent authority or pledged as security by a debtor.

Nora said he did not know why the two were charged, but Kampong Thom court Prosecutor Ith Sothea told government-aligned Fresh News that the two had worked to sell land owned by Sivnai despite being prohibited by the court to sell it.

Sothea also said that Cambodia National Rescue Party Commune Chief Sim Ny, who approved the sale, had fled.

Reached yesterday, Sothea referred questions to Investigating Judge Khon Kosal, who could not be reached for comment.

Sun Chanthy, chief of the CNRP executive committee for Kampong Thom, denied Heng was a village chief and said that people he spoke to described him as a land broker.

However, Balaing Commune Police Chief Heng Kosal said that Un Heng was the CNRP chief of Trall village, although he said he did not have any more information because police were not involved in the arrest, which took place at the court.

Sivnai is out on bail while Heng remains in pretrial detention, according to Nora. If convicted, the duo face up to one year in jail and a fine of 2 million riel ($500). The two are accused of committing the crime in Balaing commune’s Duk village in August.

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