A CPP commune chief in Koh Kong province’s Sre Ambel district was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) on Saturday, with an official saying Tuesday that he had demanded exorbitant fees to sign land-sale documents.
Hai Sin, the 34-year-old chief of Chrouy Svay commune, which abuts the Bay of Kompong Som, was arrested shortly after he canceled a public meeting and was seen leaving his home, according to Man Min, the deputy commune chief.
Mr. Min said he was not sure why the ACU apprehended Mr. Sin, but that he suspected the arrest concerned an unsuccessful attempt to sell 62 hectares of land in 2012.
“We suspect the arrest of Hai Sin is involved with the attempted sale of public land, because he wanted to sell state land to a private company,” said Mr. Min, who was elected to his position for the opposition CNRP.
“He signs documents for land issues, and he never let the commune council know how much money he collected for his signature, between 2012 and 2015.”
A senior ACU official, who declined to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media, said Mr. Sin had made a business of demanding large fees to sign land-sale documents.
“We arrested the commune chief while he was traveling to Phnom Penh to collect money from the woman,” he said, referring to a high-ranking CPP official who had played hardball with the commune chief.
“The woman offered the commune chief $3,000, but he demanded $5,000. That’s why she filed a complaint to the ACU to accuse him of extortion,” he said.
The ACU official said he did not know the name of the woman, or her position in the CPP, but that an investigation had revealed Mr. Sin’s routine demands for extra money.
“This case happened about five months ago, and we found that Mr. Sin had in fact taken money like in the accusation after we investigated [other] complaints from the people.’
Phnom Penh Municipal Court director Taing Sunlay said Tuesday afternoon that Mr. Sin had been received by the court and was being questioned by an investigating judge.