Hy Narin, the Meanchey district police chief arrested by the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) on Tuesday, was questioned on Thursday by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court over allegations that he stole more than $600,000 from the state and its citizens during his eight years as police chief.
Mr. Narin is accused of adding ghost employees to his unit’s payroll and collecting their wages, withholding bonuses intended for actual officers and extorting money from local businesses, residents and traffic accident victims.
The ACU claims that prior to his arrest, Mr. Narin had been warned twice to cease such actions.
A statement posted to the anti-graft unit’s website on Thursday said that in an eight-month investigation, it had interviewed 41 police officers about the actions of Meanchey district’s top-ranking cop.
“Based on information from police officer, witnesses and people who live in Meanchey district, as well as Mr. Hy Narin, the accused exploited people for a total of $678,059” between 2006 and 2014, the statement says.
Chan Sereivat, director of the ACU’s security department, would not discuss details of the case when contacted Thursday, except for saying that Mr. Narin remains in the custody of the ACU at its Phnom Penh headquarters and would return to the court for further questioning today.
“He hasn’t been sent to prison because the court has not finished its procedures,” Mr. Sereivat said.
Oum Sopheak, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court deputy prosecutor who questioned Mr. Narin Thursday, could not be reached for comment.
Chhay Savuth, vice chairman of the ACU, was also unavailable.
The ACU statement says that, on top of collecting money intended for police officers, both real and made up, Mr. Narin also made his subordinates pay for police jackets and gun covers, which are supposed to be issued free of charge.
The statement alleges that he charged victims in traffic accidents 10 percent of their compensation in order to broker a resolution, and that he sold motorbikes impounded after accidents.
It says that Mr. Narin extorted monthly payments from the owners of local gambling establishments, businesses and factories, and collected fines from lawbreaking motorists in excess of accepted rates.
The ACU also claims that the police chief charged citizens exorbitant amounts for the creation of family books and to have family members added to them.
According to the statement, Mr. Narin has confessed that he took all the money he gathered for his own personal interest.
Song Ly, a deputy Phnom Penh Municipal Police chief, said Thursday that Mr. Narin’s deputy, Choem Sitha, had been promoted to acting Meanchey district police chief, but declined to comment in depth on the case.
“It is the truth—[Mr. Narin] is involved with [corruption]” Mr. Ly said. “But I don’t know the details because we are not in charge of the case.”
Contacted by telephone, Mr. Sitha said it was not his place to comment on the fall of his boss.
“I will do my best to do this job,” he said.