An Interior Ministry inspection committee will soon reach a decision on the fate of five Koh Kong police officials accused by the province’s police chief of possessing illegal arms, National Police Deputy Director General Teng Savong said Monday.
Teng Savong said the committee collected information about the allegations during a visit to the coastal province last month.
“[We] went down there for two days to research the internal problem between the provincial police chief and his deputy provincial police chiefs,” he said. “We will decide on this case soon.”
Koh Kong court and police officials confirmed Sunday that legal complaints were lodged in January by Provincial Police Chief Long Beach Rattanak against the five officers following their involvement in a highly publicized, but unauthorized, raid on marijuana plantations in the province.
Koh Kong Judicial Police Chief Nop Samnang confirmed that the officers invited a television crew to the raids last December at Koh Pol and Ma Mai villages in the Smach Meanchey district.
A senior police official based in the province, who asked not to be named, said the complaints are the result of professional jealously between the police chief and the subordinate officers, who led the bust without the provincial police chief’s permission.
However, the police official also alleged the officers were involved in releasing two of seven suspects arrested during the raids and the current court complaints are the police chief’s way of bringing attention to the matter.
According to the police official, the two freed men were operating the marijuana plantations and carrying guns when arrested.
Director of Koh Kong Court Sun Suong confirmed that Long Beach Rattanak lodged complaints against Judicial Police Chief Sin Sen, Deputy Police Chiefs Tuon Pisey and Chan Sangkream, District Police Chief Nhiem Mara and police officer Vuth Bunly for possession of illegal weapons
Court Director Sun Suong also said that another Koh Kong police officer, Yang Thy, was arrested late January on charges of smuggling marijuana after Long Beach Rattanak conducted his own investigation into marijuana production in Koh Pol village.
Long Beach Rattanak confirmed Monday that he lodged the complaints against his junior officers but would give no further details.
Accused police officer Tuon Pisey declined to comment.
Deputy Secretary-General of the National Authority for Combating Drugs and Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said National Police Director General Hok Lundy is personally looking into the case.
(Additional reporting by Kevin Doyle)