Court Charges Fisheries Official Over Bribery

The Siem Reap Provincial Court charged the deputy director of a local fisheries division with corruption on Thursday for allegedly collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from fishermen in return for ignoring illegal practices.

According to the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU), Rim Sam Un, 46, a deputy director of the Fisheries Administration’s Damdek division, was arrested on Monday.

“Rim Sam Un was charged with misappropriation of public funds and Investigating Judge Sin Sovanroth decided to detain him in prison,” deputy provincial court prosecutor Ream Chanmony said on Thursday.

He said the ACU had sent the case to the court after investigating Mr. Sam Un following complaints from local fishermen, and that the deputy director’s alleged bribery stretched back to 2012.

Judge Sovanroth could not be reached for comment.

The ACU posted a statement about the case to its website.

“Based on evidence collected over the course of the investigation, the Anti-Corruption Unit decided to arrest Rim Sam Un, a deputy of the fisheries division in Damdek, in Siem Reap, on April 26, and he was sent to the Siem Reap Provincial Court in the afternoon,” it said.

“The Anti-Corruption Unit found that Rim Sam Un committed corruption—the misappropriation of public funds under the Criminal Code—by demanding and receiving about $365,000 from fishermen to not crack down on fishery offenses in his jurisdiction.”

The statement does not explain what evidence was collected against Mr. Sam Un, and ACU Chairman Om Yentieng could not be reached. Fisheries Administration officials could not be reached either.

The division includes part of the Tonle Sap Lake. Experts have been warning of overfishing of the Tonle Sap for years, although illegal fishing remains commonplace.

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