A provincial police chief who publicly supported the campaign to oust co-Minister of Interior You Hockry was fired in retaliation, a number of Funcinpec officials claimed Wednesday.
Yin Neang Hay, 51, was chief of police in Stung Treng province until a letter signed by You Hockry and co-Minister Sar Kheng last Thursday terminated him.
“I refused to thumbprint a petition supporting You Hockry—that’s why I was fired from my job,” said Yin Neang Hay, who fought for the Funcinpec resistance at the Cambodian-Thai border.
Some Funcinpec officials also alleged that Yin Neang Hay was not fired for incompetence or by mistake, nor did he retire—rather, he was personally removed by an angry You Hockry.
But Sau Phan, deputy director of national police, denied that the firing was driven by revenge.
“It is purely an issue of police discipline,” he said. “[Yin Neang Hay] did not follow orders. This is a serious discipline problem for a police officer.”
Sau Phan said Yin Neang Hay’s replacement, Lor Lim, is a former resistance fighter loyal to General Khan Savoeun, who led the grassroots drive to expel You Hockry from his position and possibly the party.
Sau Phan claimed that he filed the request to fire Yin Neang Hay almost a month ago and has been waiting for the co-ministers to sign it. You Hockry, speaking to reporters at a conference at the ministry, pleaded innocent.
“I must get out of this dispute. I am not involved in this,” he said.
Yin Neang Hay stood by his position. “I am not sorry at all,” he said. “I am only sorry it all happened so fast.”