7 F’pec Police Chiefs Removed From Posts

Continuing the removal of Fun­cin­pec members from government po­sitions, Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government has demoted seven pro­vincial police chiefs with links to the royalist party, a police official said Sunday.

Funcinpec police chiefs of Bat­tam­bang, Koh Kong, Kompong Thom, Kratie, Mondolkiri, Pursat and Stung Treng provinces have been re­­assigned to the Ministry of In­­terior in Phnom Penh as part of gov­ern­ment reform, Deputy Na­tion­al Po­lice Commissioner Sok Phal said.

Sok Phal denied the removal of the po­lice chiefs was politically motivated, adding that the campaign had re­­cently removed two CPP police chiefs: Heng Pov, former Phnom Penh police commissioner, and Nop Oeun, who was police chief for Kompong Speu province.

“This feels just like being suspended,” Hem Savong, the former Mon­­dol­kiri police chief, said on Sun­day.

“I regret this. Whether I am Fun­cin­pec or CPP, I am a Khmer citizen and I want to serve my country,” he said.

“[Funcinpec Secretary-General] Nhiek Bun Chhay should question the CPP over this,” said Serei Kosal, sen­ior minister for the royalist party.

Se­rei Kosal questioned whether the re­moval of the Funcinpec police chiefs was agreed upon at a meeting on April 11 between a Funcinpec delegation led by Nhiek Bun Chhay and senior CPP officials.

Nhiek Bun Chhay said on Sun­day that he was in Singapore and could not comment.

Koul Panha, president of the Com­mittee for Free and Fair Elec­tions, said the threat of removal was weighing heavily on Funcinpec officials.

Fearful of removal, Funcinpec gov­ernment officials no longer want to work, Koul Panha said, adding that Funcinpec district officials may be the next targets for removal.

“These removals affect not only Fun­­cinpec officials, but also government efficiency,” he added.

Since the National Assembly voted for the 50-percent-plus-one formula on March 2, the CPP has re­moved more than 20 Funcinpec gov­ernors and deputy governors from office, and has announced plans to remove 40 additional dep­uty governors across the country.

The removals will make the government more efficient, said CPP In­formation Minister and government spokesman Khieu Kanharith, who claimed that unqualified Funcinpec officials had been appointed at the royalist party’s request.


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