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Villagers scammed by land broker

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Villagers in Kandal province sign a complaint against local businesswoman Eat Sarim, who they say cheated them out of hundreds of dollars each by promising them jobs in Japan. Supplied

Villagers scammed by land broker

Dozens of villagers in Kandal province are accusing a local land dealer of cheating them out of thousands of dollars by promising them jobs in Japan that never materialised.

Thirty-eight-year-old Rath Sopheoun, who is representing the victims from Kien Svay district’s Banteay Dek commune, said she paid $3,000 to a broker from a neighbouring commune to secure jobs for her and her husband in 2016.

Sopheoun said she began to have suspicions after the broker repeatedly postponed her start date, first to March 2017, and then again to October 2017. Sopheoun said she also found it suspicious that she was sent to a Japanese language school that appeared to be in someone’s apartment.

According to Sopheoun, the 30 villagers in her commune decided to file a lawsuit after they found out the woman, 53-year-old Eath Sarim, had been arrested and sentenced to one year in prison for an unrelated fraud case in November.

Kandal Provincial Court spokesman Tin Sochetra confirmed that the court had received Sopheoun’s complaint, signed by five victims, but said the court was still investigating. Sarim is still serving her sentence for the other case, he said.

Ministry of Labour spokesman Heng Sour cautioned would-be workers against signing up with independent brokers.

“That’s why we always request and suggest all the people who are looking for training opportunities in Japan must double-check the name of the agencies before they register with that agency or person,” Sour said.

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