The Interior Ministry suspended Heng Peo as chief of its anti-drug police Wednesday, paving the way for him to face a court investigation of criminal charges.
Co-Minister of Interior You Hockry said Thursday he and his CPP counterpart, Sar Kheng, signed the order Wednesday.
“We suspended him to enable the court to investigate him,” You Hockry said.
Heng Peo has been accused of organizing a shooting attack on newspaper publisher Thong Uypang of the Khmer-language daily Koh Santepheap (Island of Peace.) Two people were injured in the June 8 attack, which Thong Uypang said was an assassination attempt.
Since then, the publisher has launched almost daily attacks against the anti-drug chief, printing Heng Peo’s name and photo and labeling him as an attempted murderer.
Documents show Mok Chito, the suspended Phnom Penh chief of police for foreigners, handled the investigation into the attack on Tong Uypang. The collected documents, some of them signed by Mok Chito, build a case against Heng Peo and three of his officers.
Mok Chito was suspended earlier this month after a verbal war with Heng Peo.
On Thursday, Heng Peo repeated denials of any involvement with the attack on Thong Uypang. He said he will elaborate on the charges, but only after the court finishes the case.
“But, please, do not believe my own words. Journalists should take a look at evidence,” Heng Peo said.