Police Officers Charged With Corruption

Kampot provincial court has charged two district police chiefs with seven counts of corruption and detained them ahead of trial, prison and court officials said Friday.

The Anti-Corruption Unit arrested Banteay Meas district police chief Srun Lam and his deputy, Mok Hort, on Thursday on suspicion that the pair embezzled money intended to pay subordinates’ salaries and bonuses for five years. They were charged and sent to prison.

“The provincial court charged Mr. Lam with seven counts of criminal offenses for taking bribes, unlawful exploitation, the concealment of evidence and the destruction of documents…as well as using an illegal weapon,” provincial prison chief Em Bo said Friday.

The court also charged Mr. Hort with taking bribes, concealing evidence, destroying documents, the unlawful use of a weapon and trying to interfere with the work of the ACU, Mr. Bo said.

“They both have been detained in prison since Thursday evening after being charged with seven counts of criminal offenses as stipulated in the Criminal Code,” he said, adding that the court documents did not say how much money the accused are alleged to have taken over the years, nor how they went about it.

If the two are found guilty, they face at least nine years in prison and at least $1,000 each in fines.

Investigating Judge Ros Bophanna declined to speak with a reporter. But Banteay Meas district deputy police chief Kim Sokhorn confirmed the charges and detention.

Since November, at least seven social affairs, tax, electricity, police and labor officials have been arrested by the ACU and placed in prison. But, the ACU remains tightlipped about arrest specifics, including how much money is alleged to have been embezzled.

Pech Pisey, a program director at Transparency International Cambodia, applauded the latest’s arrests, but urged the anti-corruption body to be more transparent about its work. “The ACU rarely disseminates information over the number of arrests that have been conducted by the ACU,” Mr. Pisey said. “We…want the government, authorities and ACU to publicly share the information about arrests in relation to corruption, because people have the rights to get that information.”

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