With Chinese New Year approaching, the long arm of the law has once again reached out to local businesses in at least one Phnom Penh commune asking for their help to ensure police have enough beer to usher in the Year of the Horse in true celebratory style.
According to an official letter of request dated January 25, Prom Saroeun, the deputy police chief of Sen Sok district’s Phnom Penh Thmei commune, asked owners of various businesses in his jurisdiction to show their gratitude for the work of police officers by each contributing several cases of beer.
“Chinese-Vietnamese New Year celebrations fall on January 31 and February 1-2 and Phnom Penh Thmei police will be protecting the occasion to ensure the public’s safety, so Phnom Penh Thmei police office would like to ask you to contribute three boxes of beer to support our forces,” states the letter, which is on official letterhead paper.
Commune police chief Keo Sothot denied that the beer request was official police policy, and said that his deputy had sent the letter to businesses without his knowledge.
“I just found out [about this] today and I have already called him to complain, but he did this of his own accord so he is the one who is responsible,” Mr. Sothot said of his deputy.
Mr. Siren confirmed Monday that he sent the letter, but emphasized that he had not “ordered” the businesses to provide beer but had simply asked them to donate it.
“I did not force them to provide the beer to me,” he said, adding that he had only distributed the letter to 15 businesses.
“I had this plan to appeal to the companies for beer during Chinese New Year, so that afterward we could all share a drink together, but of course it is entirely dependent on their goodwill.”
Phnom Penh City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche could not be reached for comment, but he said last year that a similar beer request sent by Keo Sakol, chief of Prampi Makara district’s Veal Vong commune police, was probably illegal, as it amounted to “extortion of money from businesses.”
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