B Meanchey Woman Accuses Police Chief of Extortion

A farmer in Banteay Meanchey province said yesterday she had filed complaints with the provincial court and a human rights group accusing a police official of detaining her illegally and demanding a hefty bribe for her release, according to the farmer and the rights group.

Deng Kao, a 42-year-old farmer from Phnom Srok district’s Ponlei commune, said the affair began on the morning of Aug 13 with a telephone call from a man who refused to identify himself and claimed the mobile telephone she was using was his and that he wanted it back. Ms Kao said she gave the man her address.

A few moments later, Ms Kao said, a half-dozen police officers arrived to demand she give them the telephone and took her into custody when she refused.

“Those cops arrested me and brought me to the commune police station where I had my phone checked for the call log,” she said. “After that I was sent to the provincial police [station] where I was told that my husband was a robber and the police accused me of having a role in the robbery.”

Ms Kao, who denied the allegations against her and her husband, said police then demanded 7 million riel, about $1,750, for her release. She said relatives and acquaintances collected the sum and delivered it to the police for her release on the 16th.

Ms Kao filed her complaints against Un Sam An, police chief of the province’s serious crimes office.

“The main purpose of this complaint is to seek a refund and especially to ask the court to prosecute the police for detaining me in police custody for three days even though I am innocent.”

Mr Sam An could not be reached, but provincial police chief Hun Hean dismissed the complaint against his officer.

“My cop has done nothing regarding her allegation and I don’t know her real purpose for making such false allegations,” said Mr Hean, who claimed Ms Kao denied even making them when his officers visited her to investigate.

Soum Chankea, however, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said he spoke with some of those who allegedly helped secure Ms Kao’s release and corroborated her claim of a bribe.

“There are a number of witnesses who testified to prove this illegal extortion by the cop,” he said.


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