Officials Charged With Extortion Not Detained

None of the three Interior Min­istry Anti-Trafficking Depart­ment officials who have been charged with extorting money from brothel owners in Kompong Speu pro­vince are in detention, Muni­ci­pal Court Investigating Judge Kim Ravy said Monday.

Kim Ravy said he was uncertain why the three have not been detained but declined to comment further.

“I cannot say because it is my investigating case,” he said.

Touch Ngim, a former deputy director of the anti-trafficking de­partment, Thong Kim Heng, an office chief at the department, and Rin Saroeun, a department police officer, have all been charged over a September 2004 police raid after which brothel owners alle­gedly paid bribes in return for their re­lease, according to court clerk Prak Savouth.

Phnom Penh Police Commis­sioner Heng Pov said he has an arrest warrant for Touch Ngim and another suspect whose name he could not recall.

“We’re working on it,” he said, ad­ding that he was seeking Touch Ngim.

Touch Ngim was suspended from work on March 23, six months after the raid and alleged bribe taking, during which 41 sex workers were removed from a Kompong Speu establishment.

Touch Ngim, Thong Kim Heng and Rin Saroeun could not be reached for comment Mon­day, but one official at the anti-trafficking department said the latter two are still turning up to work.

Thong Kim Heng “still comes to work,” said Khieu Sophal, an act­­ing juvenile protection office police chief at the department.

“I also saw Rin Saroeun coming to work [Monday] morning,” he said.

He added that he was not aware that the pair had been charged with any wrongdoing.


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