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Men charged over military recruitment

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times Share:
Authorities escort the men accused of taking money in exchange for military jobs. Military Police

Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday charged two men for cheating about 100 people out of nearly $1 million by promising them jobs as soldiers in the Defence Ministry’s General Engineering Department in July.

Deputy prosecutor Kham Sophary identified them as Bin Lach, 57, from Prampi Makara district’s Mittapheap commune, and Top Kimhong, 46, a military officer with the National Defence Ministry and living in Prampi Makara district’s Boeng Pralit commune.

Mr Sophary noted that they were charged with fraud with aggravating circumstances and were arrested separately on Friday and Monday by municipal military police in the city.

Brigadier General Pou Davy, deputy commander of the municipal military police, said Mr Lach was arrested on Friday at a restaurant in Prampi Makara district.

He noted that Mr Lach’s confession led to the arrest of Mr Kimhong at a restaurant in Boeng Pralit commune on Monday.

“They were arrested because they cheated about 100 people out of money by promising them a job in the military,” Brig Gen Davy said. “They were arrested in accordance with the victims’ complaints filed to the municipal military police.”

He added that Mr Lach and Mr Kimhong are in pre-trial detention.

Captain Ly Sothy, an officer with the municipal military police, said in July, Mr Kimhong posed as a nephew of Lieutenant General Yim Leang, a high-ranking military official at the ministry and the late Senate President Samdech Chea Sim’s Bodyguard Unit.

Cap Sothy said Mr Lach then told friends that Lt Gen Leang will be appointed as chief of the ministry’s General Engineering Department next year, noting that six new sub-departments will be established and require 300 new people to fill various positions.

Mr Lach persuaded about 100 people to apply for a position and pay between $1,000 and $6,000, depending on the role, and promised to confirm a position within a month after payment.

“But after they received the money from the victims, they did not find jobs for them as promised. They cheated them,” Cap Sothy said. “When they victims realised they were cheated, they asked for their money back.”

“The accused fled and the victims lost contact with them,” he added.

Cap Sothy said several victims filed complaints against them to Phnom Penh municipal military police on August 7, noting that there are about 100 victims related to the same case.

Lt Gen Leang could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Lieutenant General Mao Phalla, a spokesman of the RCAF at the National Defence Ministry, yesterday confirmed that the ministry does not have any plans to recruit soldiers to work with the General Engineering Department.

“The Ministry’s General Engineering Department is not establishing new sub-departments or recruiting soldiers for new positions,” he said. “The two men cheated the people.”

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