Poipet City Cops Accused of Extortion

A Poipet City farmer yesterday accused police of demanding $31 to release her after she was detained on suspicion of helping her nephew attack his wife, a rights worker said yesterday.

Poipet City police on Sunday arrested Mon Toeur, a 39-year-old farmer, for alleged collusion in domestic violence, city police chief Oum Sophal said yesterday. The nephew, Moeurn Mak, 25, was also arrested for beating his wife during the domestic dispute in Poipet commune’s Kilometer 4 village, Mr Sophal added.

Following their release, Ms Toeur lodged a grievance with Adhoc, claiming that to secure her release, her family had paid the police $31. The police had asked for $36, she said.

Mr Sophal denied the accusations of extortion. “This case had been resolved after the victim agreed to accept compensation from the alleged accomplice in attacking her,” he said. “Villagers tried to clear themselves from the offense by making the excuse of extortion to put blame on us.”

Reached by phone, Ms Toeur dismissed the reasons for her arrest, saying she had been trying to stop her nephew from hurting his wife.

“Police not only arrested my nephew, they also arrested me and held me in police custody overnight,” she said. “They intimidated to send me to their higher boss if my family can not afford to pay them” $36.

Since January, Adhoc workers in Banteay Meanchey have recorded five separate complaints from villagers alleging that police have arrested them and demanded money to let them go, provincial Adhoc coordinator Soum Chankea said yesterday.

“It doesn’t matter there is not enough evidence to prove an arrested person is guilty, police regularly ask for the money for release,” Mr Chankea said. “Although there are witnesses to testify to prove that [Ms Toeur] was trying to cease the domestic violence, police still took money from her family before releasing her late on Monday evening.”

Ms Toeur added that she hoped that by lodging her complaint she would get a refund from the police and draw attention to the practice of extortion.

 

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