Police in Siem Reap province are searching for a government official suspected of breaking into the provincial social affairs department Sunday and taking $24,000 from a locked safe, police said Monday.
Vat Savuth, a low-ranking official with the social affairs department, allegedly donned a mask and broke into the building at around 7:30 am Sunday using a hammer and a saw, district deputy police chief Mok Som On said.
While taking money from the safe, Vat Savuth was interrupted by the department’s director of administration, Pheouk Bunsong, who managed to remove the mask during an ensuing struggle before Vat Savuth made off with $24,000 of the safe’s $93,600, Mok Som On added.
“If there was no one there to see him, he may have taken all the money,” he said.
Social affairs department director Sea Sun said by telephone that the money taken from the safe was to go towards allowances for 800 handicapped soldiers and retired government staffers.
“We will find other way to get the money to pay for them…. The [department] will request the Social Affairs Ministry for more cash,” Sea Sun said, adding that Vat Savuth was allegedly known for his gambling habit.