The Supreme Court yesterday denied bail to two people in pre-trial detention for cheating 13 people out of $700,000 in a real estate project in 2015.
Presiding Judge Kong Srim identified them as Ouch Seakrann, 48, a former police officer with the Ministry of Interior, and his wife, Cheam Chanborey, 50, a land broker. They both lived in a rental apartment in Russey Keo commune in Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district.
Judge Srim said they were charged with forgery of public documents, use of forged documents and fraud. He added that they were arrested on January 15 by the Interior Ministry’s penal police department in their rental house in Russeo Keo district.
Judge Srim noted that in 2015, the two accused persuaded 13 people in Phnom Penh to invest in more than 400 hectares of land located in Oddar Meanchey province’s Anlong Veng district. Mr Seakrann and Ms Chanborey claimed that the land would be sold to Malaysian or Chinese-owned development companies in the future for a profit.
Judge Srim added that Mr Seakrann and Ms Chanborey forged land documents and other documents related to development projects to show the victims and convince them to invest.
Judge Srim said after the victims agreed, they required the victims to pay at least $50,000 for the real estate project.
“But after they received the payments from the victims, they did not have any land or any projects as they had claimed,” he said. “And when the victims demanded their money back, they did not pay back the victims. They always asked for more time to pay them back.”
Judge Srim noted that the victims filed a complaint against them to Phnom Penh Municipal Court on December 28 last year.
Judge Srim said Mr Seakrann and Ms Chanborey were arrested at about 2pm on January 16 in their house. They were charged and put into pre-trial detention on January 18, he added.
Judge Srim noted that they later requested the court release them on bail. However, Phnom Penh Municipal Court on February 7 denied the request.
They appealed the ruling to the Appeal Court on March 15 before later taking it to the Supreme Court.
“Because it is a criminal case and the two accused have not paid back any money to the victims since they were arrested and detained, and to guarantee the presence of the two accused in their upcoming trial, the Supreme Court understands that the judgement of the Appeal Court was right and was made in accordance with Cambodian laws,” Judge Srim said.
“Therefore, the Supreme Court has decided to uphold the judgement dated March 15 as effective. The Supreme Court denies the request of the accused and will not allow them out of detention,” he added.
Mr Seakrann said the judgement was unjust because he did not have anything to do with his wife’s work in real estate.
“It was unjust because I did not commit what police and the court accused me of,” he said. “I had nothing to do with my wife’s work.