Three Military Police Officers Admit To Taking Bribes

A Poipet City deputy military police commander and three of his officers confessed to taking bribes from suspected thieves in exchange for releasing them from custody, Banteay Meanchey provincial military police commander Or Borin said on Wednesday.

Three alleged thieves are accused of taking a Cambodian woman’s bag containing 550,000 Thai baht, or about $15,600, from her unlocked parked car near the Thai border last Thursday. They were arrested, released and rearrested on Friday evening.

Under questioning at the provincial military police station on Wednesday, deputy Poipet military police commander Tem Bola and his three officers admitted to releasing the alleged thieves after taking money from them, Brigadier General Borin said.

“I can guarantee that they will have no chance to continue to serve the people,” Brig. Gen. Borin said.

“I am not protecting anyone in the military police who makes mistakes,” he added. “The stance of the unit from top to bottom is to not protect anyone.”

The three officers, whom Brig. Gen. Borin refused to name, said they were taking orders from Mr. Bola, he said.

Mr. Bola confessed to having taken more than 90,000 baht, about $2,580, from the alleged thieves while the officers received more than 30,000 baht, worth about $860, the provincial military police commander said, adding that the cash had already been returned to its owner.

All four were first questioned about the bribery on Saturday. The three officers were sent to the provincial court for further questioning on Wednesday, while Mr. Bola was to be questioned today by the court’s prosecutor, Brig. Gen. Borin said.

He also refused to name the three alleged thieves, but said they had been charged with theft.

The provincial court’s spokesman could not be reached for comment.

Soum Chankea, the provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said it was worrying that officers who were supposed to be enforcing the law were breaking it.

“People have nobody they can depend on,” he said.

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