Two Reporters Arrested For Extortion in Kratie

Police in Kratie province on Monday arrested two journalists for allegedly extorting $100 from a villager whose stockpile of wood the reporters suspected had been illegally logged, according to local officials.

Nhem Chandary and Nhoeb Pisey, reporters for the Cheat and Ithipoal Khmer newspapers, respectively, were arrested Monday evening on accusations of extorting 400,000 riel, or about $100, from the villager after seeing the wood outside his house in Prek Prasap district’s Chroy Banteay commune, said deputy provincial police chief Oum Phy.

Mr. Phy said police made the arrest after receiving a complaint from the victim, whom he declined to name.

“These two violated the law by extorting money from people and betraying their journalistic professionalism,” he said. Commune chief Ngon Srin said the reporters initially demanded $200 from the owner of the wood but eventually agreed to halve the price for their silence.

“People here are always threatened by reporters…when they have wood stockpiled at their house and always pay, as they fear it will be confiscated by the Forestry Administration,” he said.

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