Police Official Demoted on Extortion Charges

Mac Kunthea, the former criminal police chief for Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo district, was demoted on Thursday following allegations of extortion, police said Sunday.

“I was accused of taking money from people. Ly Lay, the Russei Keo district police chief, accused me and he wanted to destroy my reputation,” Mac Kunthea said.

He added that the charges and punishment took him by surprise when they were announced at a department meeting.

Asked whether he was guilty of the charges, Mac Kunthea said, “I don’t know about this.”

A low-ranking Russei Keo police official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Mac Kunthea was being reassigned to serve as police chief of Tuol Tumpong 1 commune in Cham­kar Mon district.

He said that Mac Kunthea had been accused of demanding mon­ey from victims of crimes before undertaking an investigation.

Ly Lay denied being the source of the corruption charges.

“I have no problem with [Mac Kunthea]. I did not accuse him of doing any wrong. I was very surprised to hear the announcement of him being removed from his position,” he said Sunday.

“It is the decision of the top leader. It is normal to change someone to another place and it has happened to everyone,” Ly Lay said.

Phnom Penh Municipal Police Chief Suon Chheangly declined to comment on the reassignment of Mac Kunthea.

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