NGO worker swin­dles land-dis­pute vic­tims

The Phnom Penh Post - - NATIONAL - Kong Meta

A LO­CAL NGO worker was ar­rested on Tues­day in Preah Si­hanouk prov­ince for al­legedly mis­rep­re­sent­ing him­self as a land deal bro­ker and tak­ing ad­van­tage of vil­lagers in­volved in a land dis­pute for per­sonal profit.

Kol Phaly, deputy pro­vin­cial po­lice chief, said sus­pect Yon Sothy was the deputy chief of De­cem­ber Sec­ond, an NGO that pri­mar­ily worked to help vic­tims of land dis­putes.

“Around 174 vil­lagers filed a com­plaint against him. Now we have al­ready sent him to the pro­vin­cial court,” Phaly said.

Gover­nor Yon Min said Sothy took between $500 and $1,000 from each fam­ily in­volved in the dis­pute, promis­ing to give them land in ex­change.

“I or­dered the pro­vin­cial po­lice to ar­rest him . . . He pre­sented him­self as hav­ing author­ity to al­lot land to the peo­ple . . . He used my name for a long time. He lied to the vil­lagers, [claim­ing] that he gave me the money,” Min said.

Min added that he would re­port the is­sue to the Min­istry of In­te­rior.

“Now we are pre­par­ing the doc­u­ments to ter­mi­nate that NGO,” Min said, adding that the NGO was ap­pro­pri­ately reg­is­tered. “We are not sure whether it was just an in­di­vid­ual per­son who com­mit­ted this ac­tion, or the NGO in­sti­tu­tion . . . It’s con­nected to the deputy, so we will ter­mi­nate,” he said.

Keo Somony, deputy pros­e­cu­tor, said the in­ves­ti­gat­ing judge has or­dered Sothy to be put in pre-trial de­ten­tion, but did not know the charges.

SUP­PLIED

The deputy chief of the NGO De­cem­ber Sec­ond, Yon Sothy, is pho­tographed af­ter his ar­rest in Preah Si­hanouk prov­ince.

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