The family of municipal minor crime police deputy chief Ly Rasy —who is charged with two killings and two attempted killings—proclaimed his innocence Monday, alleging that he is caught up in a dispute between more powerful officials.
Ly Rasy’s wife, Nguy Soroathana, 34, said her husband was jailed in an attempt to indirectly attack former Phnom Penh municipal police commissioner Heng Pov, who was abruptly removed on Jan 13 by way of promotion to a position of undersecretary of state at the Interior Ministry.
“They cannot do anything to Heng Pov, so they do it to my husband,” Nguy Soroathana said.
She also criticized local news reports for exaggerating and distorting the facts of her husband’s case in recent days.
Ly Rasy’s two Tuol Kok district villas were searched Saturday in connection with the deaths of Duong Sopheap, a young woman allegedly killed while in police detention last year, and Judge Sok Sethamony in 2003.
He is also accused of attempting to kill Municipal Court Prosecutor Ouk Savouth and National Military Police Commander Sao Sokha.
“All accusations in the newspapers are invented,” Nguy Soroathana said.
“These are all disputes between Sao Sokha, [National Police Commissioner] Hok Lundy and [Interior Ministry penal police department first deputy chief] Mok Chito with Uncle Heng Pov,” she said.
Hok Lundy and Heng Pov have both denied having a personal dispute.
Despite a public argument in a crowded restaurant with Heng Pov in Dec 12, 2003, Sao Sokha also denied on Monday having a dispute with the city’s former police chief.
Mok Chito declined comment.
Commenting on newspaper reports that $200,000 was found in Ly Rasy’s bank book during the police search on Saturday, Nguy Soroathana said the money belonged to Heng Pov.
Heng Pov confirmed Monday that the money was his.
“It’s my money, but I took it all back already,” Heng Pov said.
“The account only has $800 in it now. The balance was $200,000. It was my money that I allowed Ly Rasy to control,” he added.
“It’s a long story, so I would prefer to just allow the government to audit me,” Heng Pov said of the origins of the money.
Nguy Soroathana said the money was intended to buy construction materials for a Kandal province CPP office in Kien Svay district’s Banteay Dak commune.
Nguy Soroathana also denied media reports that the home where she and Ly Rasy lived cost $1 million. Rather, she said, it was purchased for $140,000.
Ly Rasy sold his second villa to his mother for $80,000, though it remained in his name, she said, adding that she did not know the amount of her husband’s salary, but that she earned more money than he did, taking commissions on bets.
A three-star police general said on condition of anonymity that his monthly salary is $42.50 plus clothing, gasoline and 23 kg of rice.
Koh Santepheap Daily newspaper reported Monday that Ly Rasy’s family had multiple bank accounts, a charge that the family denies. Both Ly Rasy’s wife and sister, who declined to be named, said that media reports had also been incorrect on a variety of other counts.
Koh Santepheap editor-in-chief Chea Sayna said he knows who is thought to be ultimately responsible for the crimes committed by some 10 police officials arrested in recent weeks, but had agreed not to reveal it to the public at the request of Hok Lundy.
“I know the truth but wait for the police investigation first,” Chea Sayna said by telephone.
“The national police commissioner sent a representative to meet me requesting that I not publish who stands behind this,” he added.