Extortion Charge Proposed for Journalists

A deputy prosecutor at the Kompong Thom Provincial Court on Tuesday recommended charges of extortion for 11 people—eight who claimed to be journalists and three who said they were environmental NGO directors—who were arrested on Sunday for allegedly demanding money from truck drivers transporting wood.

Say Nora, the deputy prosecutor, said that 15 complaint letters recently filed against the group were included in the evidence.

“We questioned the suspects this morning. Some of them confessed that they committed extortion and some denied it.

But what is important is that the 15 victims pointed fingers at the faces of the 11 people and said they really had stopped their trucks and extorted money from them,” Mr. Nora said.

The case, he added, had been handed to Investigating Judge Chok Nguon, who will decide whether and how to charge the suspects.

Each member of the group could face between two and five years in jail and fines ranging from 4 million riel ($1,000) to 10 million riel ($2,500) if found guilty.

Mr. Nguon could not be reached for comment.

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