Mondolkiri Police Chief Orders Manhunt Despite Protests

Mondolkiri provincial police chief Toch Yon has ordered authorities in Keo Seima district to search for fugitive former military police official Sou Ma­rith, after the district police chief said last week that he would not organize a manhunt without further funding.

Mr. Marith, 37, is wanted for two separate incidents involving the unlawful use of a firearm.

In 2014, he held a pistol to the head of Keo Seima governor Sin Vanvuth in an attempt to free the driv­ers of a Lexus SUV that the governor had helped pull over for trans­porting illegally sourced luxury wood, officials said.

Earlier this month, Mr. Marith shot at military police and forestry officials who had followed a timber-laden car to his home before fleeing the scene, according to authorities.

And although Mr. Marith was charged in absentia two days af­ter the recent shooting, district police chief Sun Bunthoeun said at the time that he would not order his men to embark on a nationwide man­hunt without extra money for food, transportation and accommodation.

Yes­terday, however, provincial police spokesman Van Danin said that his boss, Mr. Yon, had ordered both police and military police in Keo Seima to search for Mr. Marith.

“Even though there is no money available for searching for the offender, it is the duty and job of the authorities” to do so, he said.

Mr. Bunthouen and district military police commander Sak Sarun con­firmed that they were now searching for Mr. Marith, but de­clined to com­ment further.

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