Fake diamond leads to market sting in S’ville

By: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

A couple was arrested and sent to court yesterday after attempting to sell $38,000 in fake diamond jewellery to a gold vendor in Preah Sihanouk province, according to provincial military police.

A Russian man, identified only as Vanya, 50, and a Cambodian woman, Tep Phally, 33, were arrested at Phar Leu Market after the vendor, Mom Chenda, 31, pegged them as passing off fake jewels after a previous counterfeit sale and had authorities waiting to make the arrest.

“The victim said they had previously sold her a fake 1.06-carat diamond for $7,300,” said Colonel Keo Sophal, a deputy commander of the Preah Sihanouk provincial military police.

The victim’s complaint states that on April 3, she initially purchased a diamond for over $7,000 from three Russian men, including a man named Vanya. When she tried to resell it in Phnom Penh a week later, however, the buyers informed her it was a fake.

Fortuitously, on April 21, one of the Russian suspects called Chenda to find out if she was interested in buying more diamonds, and she worked with the provincial military authorities to set up the sting operation.

Police confiscated a 2.51-carat counterfeit diamond and temporarily detained the couple for further questioning at the provincial military police headquarters.

Neither the suspects, nor Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court prosecutor Bou Bunhang, could be reached for comment yesterday.

SOURCE: THE PHNOM PENH POST