Debtor Sues Policeman for Illegal Detention

A Phnom Penh debtor filed a law­suit last month alleging that he had been detained illegally by his money lender’s husband, who hap­pened to be a police officer.

Tang Dong, a fisherman, said he was arrested without a warrant by El Rany, the deputy police chief of Russei Keo district and hus­­band of Sin Sarann, from whom Tang Dong said he had bor­­rowed $800 in 2002.

After paying back $160 a month for one year as interest on the debt, Tang Dong said he was un­able to cover the rest. He was ar­rested by El Rany on Sept 16.

“He did not have a warrant to ar­rest me,” Tang Dong said. “He just told me that he would like to invite me to his police station.”

Tang Dong filed a lawsuit on Sept 23, accusing El Rany of a hu­man rights violation.

Detained for four days before he was ordered by Prosecutor Yet Chakriya to pay the re­maining $3,242 that he owed, Tang Dong ac­cused Sin Sarann and El Rany of threatening him with time in jail if he did not repay the money.

El Rany denied any wrong-doing on Tuesday, and maintained that the arrest was legal.

“Normally, police never do anything that is against the law,” he said. “I arrested him according to prosecutor Yet Chakriya’s order.”

He said Tang Dong never re­paid any of the debt, while Sin Sarann said Tang Dong originally had borrowed $1,000, not $800.

Russei Keo Police Chief Ly Lay confirmed Tuesday that El Rany had made the arrest with a note from the court—not an official war­rant. But, he added, he was unfamiliar with the case.

“I have seen the court’s note al­lowing police to take legal action, but I did not see clearly where it was for or from whom,” he said.

Yet Chakriya could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

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