Three-Star Oknha Facing $5M Bail Arrested Despite Apology

3 min read
Local tycoon Duong Ngeap in a video he posted to Facebook on February 7, 2022, alleging corruption in the court system.

Duong Ngeap, who railed against court corruption last week while facing a fraud charge, adultery conviction and $5-million bail order, was arrested this morning.

Ngeap is an oknha, three-star general and deputy secretary-general of the Interior Ministry whose son, Duong Chhay, made headlines last year for domestic violence against his wife.

Phnom Penh police chief Sar Thet said around 11 a.m. that police had arrested Ngeap an hour prior.

“We implemented a court warrant,” Thet said. “We took him in one hour ago in order to send him to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to take legal action.”

In a series of videos last week, including one shot dramatically outside a Phnom Penh prison, Ngeap accused the courts of impropriety: “I would go to the court once, I would pay once. I go to the court once, I pay once. And they shared it with each other and diced me,” Ngeap said in one video. “I have seen the way the court and judge work and maneuver — it was not OK.”

“I cannot tolerate it anymore and I’ve run out of money to give them,” he added.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court issued a statement in response that Ngeap was subject of a criminal fraud case from late 2020 involving millions.

The court said two businessmen, Chin Yu Yen and Yao Ching King, had handed $7.3 million to Ngeap but he did not provide land as promised. Ngeap issued three checks to them worth around $1.65 million, $3.65 million and $2 million as a refund, but the checks bounced.

Ngeap was granted bail, but ordered to deposit $5.3 million, the court added. He evaded judicial examinations, it said.

“The court will resume the proceedings in accordance with the procedures in force in this case, not allowing the accused Duong Ngeap to use social media to evade his responsibilities,” the court statement said. The court statement did not touch on Ngeap’s allegations of court corruption. Justice Ministry spokesman Chin Malin said last week that if he has clear grounds, Ngeap can file a complaint and there would be an investigation.

By Friday, Ngeap was attempting an apology. In a letter, he said he was sorry to the court president for his video clips and interviews with journalists, saying they were inappropriate.

“These actions were made because I was confused due to the severe pressure from family and extreme concerns about various legal challenges against me. These regrettable acts have tarnished the reputation of the institution and honor of his excellency the president and officials as judges,” Ngeap said in his letter.

He promised not to repeat such actions and participate in all court procedures. “In the spirit of honesty, justice and respect for the law … provide forgiveness for me,” he said.

Ngeap has previously said that he had fallen out with his wife and son, who had pursued court litigation against him. He was convicted of adultery, he has said.

Last week, a different Taiwanese man not named in the court statement also posted a video on Facebook saying he was part of Ngeap’s fraudulent land deal. The man, whose name transliterated from Khmer is Wong Seavsean, reiterated the court charges and said Ngeap had made untrue statements in his videos.

One was that Ngeap had issued a $1 million check, half of which was taken by his estranged wife, according to Wong. Ngeap had accused his wife of spending it on rain betting.

“What he said was not true,” Wong said. Based on social media photos, Wong appears to be close to Ngeap’s son Chhay. Chhay is also close to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s sister Hun Sinath, who has also commented on the controversy involving Ngeap.

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