Police in Siem Reap city on Friday arrested a journalist for allegedly blackmailing a local business owner, less than two weeks after police there detained another reporter for a similar crime, authorities said.
Siem Reap minor crimes police chief Phing Chendareth said police arrested 34-year-old Khorn Bora, a reporter for the little known newspaper “New Light,” in Slakram commune.
According to the police chief, Mr Bora took $50 from a local furniture seller on March 25 in return for not reporting about her business. He said Mr Bora then advised to vendor to hide her wood, allegedly demanding another $1,000 but finally settled for a $300 payoff on March 28.
Mr Chendareth added that Mr Bora was sent to court on Saturday for and that his officers were searching for a second suspect. Prosecutor Ty Sovannthal said yesterday that he had handed the case over to an investigating judge who could not be reached.
“I gave [Mr Bora] to the investigating judge,” he said. “If he is charged or detained, it is the judge’s decision.”
Sou Choeun, director of the Angkor Journalist Alliance, said he had never heard of the New Light newspaper.
“It is wrong to do [extortion] but the authorities should investigate the people who said the journalist extorted them to make sure the journalist really got the money from them,” said Moeun Chhean Nariddh, director of the Cambodia Institute for Media Studies.
On April 6, Siem Reap police arrested Koh Santepheap Daily reporter Sim Samnang for allegedly extorting money from a wood manufacturer he suspected dealing in illegally cut timber.