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Journalist charged with extortion

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times Share:
Police escort the accused after his arrest. CEN

Kratie Provincial Court on Sunday charged and jailed a journalist who was posing as the assistant to the provincial police chief and the provincial military police commander to extort money from illegal loggers.

The accused was identified as Prum Neyroath, 29, a reporter based in Kratie province, in court documents obtained by the Khmer Times.

Mr Neyroath was charged with fraud and faces up to three years in jail if convicted. He was arrested on Friday and has now been sent to prison pending trial.

Major Keo Sareth, a provincial military police officer, said that between August and December, Mr Neyroath posed as the assistant to the two leaders in order to extort about $100 to $300 from each illegal logger he spotted transporting timber.

In exchange, Mr Neyroath promised the logger he would not report their activity to the two leaders.

Maj Sareth said that the loggers eventually became suspicious of the accused and secretly took photos of him before passing them along to authorities.

“He was posing as the personal assistant of our leaders in Kratie province,” he said. “He used the influence of the provincial leaders and their names to threaten and extort money from timber merchants.”

“His activities seriously affected our provincial military police and police leadership and made the public mistrust us,” he added.

He noted that to protect the honour and reputation of the two forces, the accused has been charged for his actions.

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