Preah Sihanouk provincial police on Monday arrested a police officer and his three accomplices, all suspected thieves, over the theft of nine motorbikes.
Brigadier General Kol Phally, chief of provincial General Crimes Department, identified the suspects as Tan Long, 45, a provincial police officer and owner of a motorbike pawn shop in Sihanoukville, and his three accomplices Bo Vihear, 32, Hean Lihuy, 21, and Sok Dara, 16.
Brig Gen Phally said that all three suspects are experienced robbers, whose modus operandi was to travel on motorbikes in the evenings and steal motorbikes parked in front of restaurants or on public streets in the city.
Brig Gen Phally said that at about 4pm on Monday, Mr Vihear and Mr Lihuy stole a Honda Scoopy motorbike from a man that parked it in front of a Caltex Gasoline’s Starmart.
After his motorbike was stolen, the victim alerted commune police, who then proceeded to search for the suspects and the stolen vehicle.
Brig Gen Phally said that after stealing the victim’s motorbike, Mr Vihear and Mr Lihuy set off with the vehicle to Mr Long’s shop, where they were to sell it, but were instead arrested by the police before arriving.
“They were arrested after they have travelled on the stolen motorbike and aimed to bring it to be sold to Mr Long, who was their boss,” he said. “After their arrest, police seized the motorbike from them.”
Brig Gen Phally further explained that Mr Vihear and Mr Lihuy’s confessions led to the arrest of Mr Long and Mr Dara at the pawn shop.
Police proceeded to inspect Mr Long’s shop and seized eight other stolen motorbikes, six knives, two samurai swords, nine phones, two laptops, numerous motorbike and car keys, drug-related paraphernalia, as well as his police ID card.
A penal police official, who asked not to be named, said yesterday that among the four suspects, Mr Long is accused by police with receiving stolen goods and unauthorised possession of a weapon. He is facing up to three years in prison if convicted.
Mr Vihear, Mr Lihuy and Mr Dara are accused by police of theft with aggravating circumstances. They face five to eight years in prison if convicted.
The suspects are being detained at the provincial police station for further investigation and will be sent to Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court for questioning today.