Reward Is Offered for Missing Police Chief

Police in Kompong Cham province have offered a reward of 1 million riel—about $250—for the discovery of the body of a commune police chief who is believed to have been murdered.

Chan Sophal, 48, the police chief of Svay Por commune in Srei Santhor district, went missing Saturday morning. His tough stance against illegal fishing is believed to be behind his disappearance.

“After we failed to find his body, we have decided to provide 1 million riel to someone who does find the body,” said provincial police chief Ben Rath. “We have used hundreds of people to find his body, but to no result.”

Mr. Sophal went missing after going to investigate villagers’ reports of people using electricity to stun fish in Svay Por commune.

Mr. Rath said Mr. Sophal had gone to arrest 10 illegal fishermen who had previously escaped arrest for the same charge in neighboring Kandal province. The 10 are the chief suspects in the disappearance.

“We conclude that this is a murder case because the victim came to investigate suspects that ran from the Kandal authorities before,” Mr. Rath said.

Mr. Rath added that village chiefs in Srei Santhor had been ordered to gather teams of capable men to widen the search for the missing police chief, and that two of his deputy provincial police chiefs had been assigned to investigate the potential murder case.

No Lab, a Svay Por commune councilor, said that the crowds looking for Mr. Sophal’s body had grown significantly since his disappearance, topping out at more than 300.

“It is very difficult to find the body because the area is very muddy,” he said, adding that the search area had been widened.

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