Bodyguard unit officer admits scam

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Lt Col Savoeun claimed that he gave the money to a senior military officer. Supplied

A former military officer with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Bodyguard Unit has gone on trial accused of cheating six men out of nearly $7,000 by promising them jobs as soldiers with the chance to study abroad.
Lieutenant Colonel Doeun Savoeun, 54, based in Kandal province, is charged with fraud and forgery of public documents.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court judge Heng Kessaror said Lt Col Savoeun persuaded six men who were unemployed and living in Phnom Penh to work as soldiers with the Ministry of National Defence.  
He told them they would have a chance to go for military training in South Korea or other countries in the region.  
“To get a job with the ministry, he required the victims to pay him $1,600 each in advance, to process the applications and pay other military officials in the ministry,” Mr Kessaror said.  
“But after receiving a total of $6,500 from them, he did not find the jobs as promised.”
Mr Kessaror said that to gain the victims’ trust, Mr Savoeun forged military ID cards with the stamps and signatures of the defence minister.
But when the victims showed the cards to friends who were soldiers, they were told the cards were fakes.  
The victims tried to contact Lt Col Savoeun to claim their money back but he changed his mobile phone number.  
The victims then filed a lawsuit against him with the national military police.
Lt Col Savoeun was arrested in April 2015.
At yesterday’s trial, he admitted receiving the $6,500 but said he had given the money to a senior military officer named Vuth who worked with the department of personnel and assignment in the ministry. Vuth had offered him only $1,600 as commission.   
“I did not forge or produce any public document as the court has charged me with,” he said, asking the court for leniency.
Court deputy prosecutor Sin Vireak said no one called Vuth had been charged because the name was false and the court could not find out his real identity or whereabouts.
“There was proof that the accused committed the offences, therefore I would like to ask the judges’ council to punish him,” he said.
Lt Col Savoeun faces up to ten years in jail if convicted. The verdict is due on May 26.

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