Authorities arrested four men—two of whom claimed to be staffers at the Council of Ministers—for allegedly attempting to extort $100,000 from a woman in Phnom Penh, military police said Sunday.
Two of the four gang members arrested Friday claimed to be working for the National Authority on Land Disputes, and had threatened to confiscate four hectares of land in Sihanoukville from their victim if she did not pay them $100,000, National Military Police Chief Sao Sokha said.
“They are gangsters claiming to be staff for the National Authority on Land Disputes,” he said. “We are not sure yet whether they are really staff of the Council of Ministers.”
Regardless of whether they turn out to be staff at the Council of Ministers, Cabinet Minister Sok An has told the military police “to take action according to the law,” Sao Sokha said.
The four were arrested when they went to meet Suon Devi at a coffee shop in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district, Sao Sokha said. Suon Devi tipped off police about the meeting, where she was due to hand over the money, he said.
Police confiscated two K-59 handguns, a car, some documents and $20,000 of the victim’s money, he said.
The money will be returned to the victim as soon as the paperwork on the case is finished, Sao Sokha said, adding that one of the suspects is from Sihanoukville’s O’Tres commune in Stung Hav district, where the victim’s land is located.
Hy Pru, deputy municipal police commissioner, said Phnom Penh police officers are cooperating with military police, who are in charge of the investigation.
Seng Savorn, director of the information department at the Council of Ministers, said he could not confirm whether any of the suspects were staff members at the cabinet.