Chea Vuth, deputy chief of the Ministry of Interior’s Anti-Human Trafficking Department, said that he and Touch Ngem, Kompong Speu provincial deputy police chief, were suspended from work on Wednesday, accused of extorting and bribing brothel owners.
Complaints against the two officers were made following a Kompong Speu police raid on four brothels in September 2004 in which 41 sex workers were rescued, Chea Vuth said.
He added that he was suspended from work but that his rank has not been withdrawn.
The Ministry of Interior ordered him to appear for questioning on Wednesday afternoon, he said.
Chea Vuth denied that he was involved in any extortion or bribery of the brothel owners.
“I am not involved with extortion because all the girls and brothel owners were arrested and immediately sent to the Ministry of Interior without transit through my office. So how can I extort money from them?” he asked.
Touch Ngem could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Un Sokunthea, director of the anti-human trafficking department for the Ministry of Interior, declined to comment.
Local human rights groups expressed concern that bribery of government officials has been hampering efforts to combat human trafficking.