Six municipal police officials have been detained at the Ministry of Interior on suspicion of illegally deploying forces to a land dispute on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, officials said Wednesday.
Municipal Minor Crime Bureau Chief Hong Setha and his First Deputy Ly Rasy were arrested Tuesday, along with Section Chief of Minor Crime Sim Sokha and his three deputies Phon Channary, Ung Samnang and Chan Sovanny, said Mok Chito, first deputy director of the Ministry of Interior’s penal police department.
The six are accused of being involved in the illegal deployment of police officers to a land dispute in Phlou Pa’em Village, Kok Roka commune in Dangkao district, officials said. The deployed forces allegedly destroyed a Chinese cemetery on disputed land.
“We are keeping them for discipline inside the ministry,” National Police Commissioner Hok Lundy said.
“We are holding this case for a clear investigation,” Hok Lundy said, adding that the six face a “strict investigation” at the ministry. “The results will be known in another week,” he said.
The Ministry of Interior was originally scheduled to send the six officers to Phnom Penh Municipal Court to face charges, but this was delayed because of a lack of evidence, said Deputy National Police Commissioner Sok Phal.
At the very least, he said, the officers will be disciplined or fired.
“A serious discipline is to sack them from the National Police,” he said. “But if it’s found to be more serious, they must be sent to court.”
Sok Phal declined to provide more details on the case and referred questions to the Interior Ministry’s intelligence section director Chhay Sinarith, who is leading the investigation.
Contacted by phone, Chhay Sinarith declined comment.
The six were detained several weeks after former municipal police commissioner Heng Pov was removed from his post.