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Reporters held over extortion

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
The reporters allegedly posed as police officers to extort a gasoline station owner. CEN

Pursat provincial police have arrested four journalists who allegedly posed as National Police officers to extort money from the owner of a gasoline station in Pursat city.

Major General Sarun Chanthy, provincial police chief, yesterday identified them as Em Sovisal, 31, working for TNC News, Rum Ratha, 31, with NTC news, Thong Kimnguon, 40, from PCN news in Battambang, and Em Sovisith, 31, the publisher of CPN news.

He said his officers cooperated with local police and arrested them in Krakor district on Monday following a complaint from the owner of a Tela Gasoline Station in the city.

“Our police officers took them in for questioning at the Krakor district police station on Monday evening,” Maj Gen Chanthy said. “The gasoline station owner accused them of demanding between $200 and $300 after claiming to be officers from the National Police.”

He noted that all four journalists would be sent to the provincial court for further questioning.

Tan Seihak Dechak, provincial court prosecutor, yesterday said that up to 5pm, the four had not yet been brought to court.

Pen Bona, Club of Cambodian Journalist president, yesterday said that the four journalists were accused of extorting money after posing as National Police officers.

He reminded all journalists to be professional in carrying out their duties and not to commit crimes such as extortion.

Mr Bona said he was monitoring the case and was waiting to see what charges Mr Sovisal, Mr Ratha, Mr Kimnguon and Mr Sovisith would face.

“I urge the court to provide justice for both sides,” he said. “If they committed the crime, please implement the law but if they are innocent, please release them.”

Ouk Kim Seng, Information Ministry spokesman, yesterday said that although the case does not involve falling foul of the law through writing or publishing an article, it was still a crime allegedly committed by journalists.

“Journalists need to avoid taking part in activities that impact the public,” he said. “Remember we are journalists and need to strictly follow our code of ethics.”

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