Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday charged and detained a South African national and his Cambodian girlfriend for fraud after the couple cheated money out of a victim by using a fake online profile.
Major Ly Sopheak, a municipal military police official, identified the two accused as 31-year-old Nwosu Martins, a South African national, and his girlfriend, 35-year-old Kan Kalin. Both lived in a rental house in Chamkar Mon district’s Boeng Tumpon commune.
Maj Sopheak said that they were charged with fraud and face up to three years in prison if convicted.
He added that they were arrested by municipal military police last Tuesday in Por Senchey district after they allegedly cheated a 34-year-old woman out of nearly $4,000.
Maj Sopheak said that in February, Mr Martins created a fake profile using the name “Jerry Snow” and a photo of a foreigner before sending a friend request to the victim.
Maj Sopheak added that after the victim accepted the request, Mr Martins started talking to her, telling her that he was a US soldier based in Afghanistan and is set to retire in 2020.
The accused further claimed to have millions of US dollars and wanted to buy a condominium in Phnom Penh, telling her that he wanted to send her money so that she could buy the condo on his behalf before he would visit Cambodia next year.
Maj Sopheak noted that on May 15, Mr Martins told the victim that he had already sent her the money to buy the condo and told her to contact a transport company in Siem Reap province to retrieve it.
Maj Sopheak added that on June 1, a Cambodian man, who claimed to be the chief of the so-called transport company, alerted the victim about the money sent from abroad and required her to pay $550 as service fee. The victim transferred the requested amount through a Wing Transfer Money shop.
Maj Sopheak noted that on June 4, Ms Kalin called claiming she was a staff at the transport company and asked for another $5,300 from the victim as service fee, citing an excuse that the high fee was due to the large amount of money transferred. The victim negotiated the price down to $3,000 and transferred the amount.
Maj Sopheak noted that later that day, Mr Martins called the victim and asked for $4,700 for tax. The victim finally become suspicious and filed a complaint to the municipal military police.
He added that Mr Martins and Ms Kalin were arrested on June 11 at about 11.30pm when they travelled on a motorbike to a Wing Transfer Shop in Por Senchey district to retrieve the $4,700 they last requested. After their arrest, military police seized the motorbike, $4,700 and five phones from them, including the phone used in the crime.