Kampot Police Officers Sentenced to Jail for Graft

The Kampot Provincial Court on Thursday sentenced the former Banteay Meas district police chief and his former deputy to four years and two years in prison respectively for embezzling funds and taking bribes amounting to $64,360 over a five-year period, a court official said.

In March, the government’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) arrested Srun Lam, then the district police chief, and Mok Huot, his deputy, on suspicion of pocketing money that was intended to pay the salaries and bonuses of their subordinates, taking bribes from people accused of crimes in exchange for not sending their cases to court, and extorting money from rice traders and traffic police.

“Srun Lam was sentenced to four years in prison, fined 8 million riel [about $1,970], and Mok Huot was sentenced to two years…and fined 5 million riel [about $1,230],” said Ek Chheng Huot, the chief provincial prosecutor.

Mr. Chheng Huot declined to comment further.

On December 29, the court charged both men with misappropriating public funds, concealing evidence, interfering with the work of authorities and the unlawful use of an illegal weapon.

Ou Vuth, Mr. Huot’s lawyer, said he was satisfied with the court’s decision.

“I agree with the court’s decision and…my client said he will not appeal,” Mr. Vuth said, adding that his client maintained his innocence as he “only did what his boss ordered.”

Pov Sreysour, the lawyer for Mr. Lam, said he was unaware of the verdict and could not comment on it.

Mam Kesei, provincial monitor for rights group Licadho, said the court had made the right decision in convicting the two men.

“I think it’s an example for officials who embezzle money from the state,” Mr. Kesei said. “I hope the Anti-Corruption Unit will continue trying to find any officials who want to commit corruption.”

At the time of Mr. Lam and Mr. Huot’s arrest, the ACU said that about 80 percent of Banteay Meas’ district police officials had filed a complaint against the two men and helped to bring evidence against them.

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