Kandal Provincial Court yesterday charged a journalist with fraud for collecting more than $10,000 from seven people whom he promised jobs with the National Police.
According to court documents, Mach Panha, 35, was charged with fraud and Judge Ngoun Vuthy placed him in pre-trial detention yesterday. If convicted, the accused faces six months to three years behind bars.
A provincial police report said Mr Panha, a journalist, contacted deputy chief of Ponhea Leu district police Major Orm Sophat and asked him to issue a family book for his nephew to help him get a National Police job.
Mr Panha lied about his identity to Maj Sophat, claiming that he was Lim Sakhana, an advisor for Pen Vibol, director of the personnel department at the Ministry of Interior.
Mr Panha told Maj Sophat that he could also help get his son a job with the National Police if he paid him about $1,500.
Mr Panha also urged Maj Sophat to inform others that he could secure them police jobs in exchange for the money.
In total, Maj Sophat and six other victims paid about $17,350 to Mr Panha, according to the police report.
Contacted by phone yesterday, Maj Sophat said he is a victim of the scam and wants his money back.
“It is me who is a victim. Though the suspect was arrested by provincial police, I have not got my money back yet,” he said. “The case is now in the court and let’s wait and see how it goes.”
Provincial police chief Major General Eav Chamroeun described the case on his Facebook page on Monday, noting that the accused was telling his victims he had permission to recruit 30 police officers.
Maj Gen Chamroeun said that the accused was operating a phone scam in Ponhea Leu district on October 11, using a false name and promising jobs he could not provide.
Maj Gen Chamroeun said that over the course of three days, the accused collected $17,350 from his victims, including $1,250 also sent to him by Maj Sophat to secure a promised car.
Maj Gen Chamroeun said that the accused has run scams three times in the past, including in his home province of Kampong Cham.
Kampong Cham police assisted Kandal police to locate and arrest the accused on Monday in Kandal, Maj Gen Chamroeun noted.