Five men and one woman were sent to the Kampong Thom Provincial Court yesterday after being arrested on charges of fraud on Friday night for allegedly disguising themselves as NGO workers and attempting to extort $3,000 from villagers in Kampong Svay district, according to local police.
Brigadier General Chou Saman, chief of the Kampong Thom Provincial Police, said the six suspects, 36-year-olds Sman Sulkiphi and Lah Matly, 30-year-old Yoeu Rofa, 41-year-old Sos Roseth, 27-year-old Lah Rorya and 19-year-old Chea Navy, were charged with fraud under articles 377 and 378 of the Penal Code and have now been sent to provincial prison.
Major Nhem Chhunly, chief of the Stung Sen Town Police, said that on Friday morning the six suspects disguised themselves as NGO workers and rode motorbikes to the homes of two villagers in Kampong Svay District and Stung Sen town.
“They told the villagers that they were employees of an NGO in Phnom Penh,” he said. “They came here to help the poor connect to the electricity [grid] and they wanted villagers to install solar panels which were to be paid for in installments over a period of four years.”
Brig. Gen. Saman said the group told the villagers they would provide loans to citizens with families being able to borrow 1 million riel ($100) each, but required them to pay the group $100 as a deposit, adding: “After the villagers had paid them the money, they rode off on their motorbikes and managed to escape.”
They were arrested that night at about 10 pm in Kampong Thom after 33 of the village residents complained.
Police confiscated the group’s four motorbikes, eight mobile phones, a sum of cash as well as other related documents.