Military police in Takeo province last night arrested a military general and close aide of ousted Phnom Penh Municipal Court director Ang Mealaktei, who was officially removed from his position Wednesday amid allegations of vast corruption.
Provincial military police commander La Lay said his officers worked with the National Military Police to arrest Pech Prum Mony, a brigadier general and deputy chief of staff for the Royal Cambodian Army.
“We cooperated with National Military Police to arrest Pich Prum Mony in Rovieng commune, Samraong district,” Brigadier General Lay said. “I don’t know the reason. You can ask the National Military Police.”
Kheng Tito, spokesman for the National Military Police, said last night that Brigadier General Prum Mony was detained following an arrest warrant issued by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.
“We arrested him at about 6 p.m. and we brought him to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court,” Brigadier General Tito said.
“He is accused of obstructing the work of public officials,” he added. “And of misusing his [Royal Cambodian Armed Forces] number plate.”
Mr. Mealaktei, the ousted judge, was officially removed the day after Prime Minister Hun Sen suggested in a public speech that a $5-million bribe might have caused the court to overturn its decision to reject bail for the parents of Major General Thong Sarath, who is charged with coordinating the November murder of businessman Ung Meng Chue.
Asked if Thursday’s arrest was related to the release of Maj. Gen. Sarath’s parents—who stand charged with illegal weapons possession and were arrested on Sunday while trying to flee to Vietnam after being granted bail earlier this month—Brig. Gen. Tito said: “yes.”
The military police spokesman wrote on his personal Facebook page last night that Brig. Gen. Prum Mony was arrested while praying at the Prasat Neang Khmao pagoda in Samraong district, and also posted a video of Brig. Gen. Prum Mony arriving at the municipal court wearing a white button-down shirt and red baseball cap.
Mr. Mealaktei, who took over the municipal court in April, requested in July that Brig. Gen. Prum Mony “help provide security and public order at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court,” according to a letter that he sent to General Meas Sophea, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces.
Brig. Gen. Prum Mony remained at the municipal courthouse last night, and Brig. Gen. Tito said he would be held at the National Military Police headquarters once deputy prosecutor Ly Sophana finished questioning him.
Mr. Sophana could not be reached.