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.