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Six Charged After Alleged Bank Robbery

PHNOM PENH - Kampong Cham provincial court has detained and charged six men for their involvement in an alleged bank robbery last week, officials said Monday.

One man, Sim Kimthan, a senior cashier at the Acleda bank branch where the crime allegedly took place, was charged for organizing the robbery, with five others charged with theft, Um Chanthol, investigating judge for the court, said Monday.

Sim Kimthan has also been charged with theft and for organizing armed men, Um Chanthol said. The suspects face three to 10 years in prison if convicted.

The alleged robbery, which took place last Wednesday, was initially thought to be a hostage crisis, with elite police and other security forces surrounding the bank’s Beak Anlung branch. It was later determined that all six people, including Sim Kimthan and four other employees of the bank, were involved in the alleged crime.

Police now say the hostage situation was staged to cover up the heist.

Acleda bank officials say $50,000 has gone missing from the bank following the alleged robbery, though it remains unclear where the money has gone or who else might have been involved.

Prum Visoth, senior vice president at Acleda, said the bank had filed its own suit with the provincial court, demanding $100,000 in compensation from the defendants. The amount was in part to pay for loss of reputation after staff members allegedly robbed their own bank, he said.