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Cambodia investment scams rising

Kyodo

The National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan and related bodies are warning of a rise in fraudulent investment schemes involving real estate in Cambodia, where economic growth is boosting foreign investment.

The center received 1,312 inquiries between October 2011 and early this month from consumers who said they were approached about investing in Cambodian real estate.

In Saitama Prefecture alone, 27 out of 136 people who contacted the center between April 2011 and June had invested an average of about ¥3 million, with most unable to recover their cash.

In one case, a 78-year-old man sued a Tokyo-based real estate firm in March for the return of ¥3.1 million he paid for a condominium unit advertised to be completed at the end of 2013.

Before the purchase, the man got a call from someone claiming to be an agent for the firm who said it would buy the property for double what the man paid if he first bought it as a proxy. A house stood at the site and there was no sign of any construction.