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Land fraudster arrested for sale of protected area

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times Share:

The Phnom Penh municipal court charged and sentenced a woman to prison on September 18 for defrauding a man of $220,000 through the sale of 50 hectares of land in Preah Sihanouk province last year.

Lieutentant Colonel Maing Sokluch, the deputy commander of Phnom Penh military police, identified the woman as Lim Sareth, 56, a land broker living in Trea village, in Stung Meanchey II commune, in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district.

He identified the victim as Kob Sam An, 59, a real estate agent living in Buon commune, in Preah Sihanouk province.

He said that Sareth was charged with “fraud” under Articles 377 and 378 of the Criminal Code and faces up to three years in prison if convicted.

He added that Sareth was arrested on September 16, and is now awaiting her pre-trial in prison.

Lt Col Sokluch noted that on September 12, 2019, Sareth had sold 50 hectares of land located in Ream commune, in Prey Nob district, in Preah Sihanouk province to the victim for $300,000.

He said that in order to purchase this land, Sareth had required the victim to deposit $220,000 in advance so that she could prepare the land title as well as other related documents for him.

He went on to say that at that time, Sareth had promised that the documents would be delivered to the victim within a period of 45 days, after having received the $220,000 deposit.

However on the day of this deadline, he said that Sareth was unable to produce the land documents for the victim as promised, because the land that she had sold did not belong to her, and was in fact part of a state-protected-area.

He added that afterwards the victim demanded the return of his deposit, but that until this day he has not been refunded.

In order to reclaim his financial loss the victim later lodged a lawsuit in court against her on March 17, 2020.

Sareth was later arrested on September 16 at her home in Phnom Penh in accordance with the victim’s complaint.

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