Seven Prey Veng provincial anti-drugs police officers were suspended for allegedly using violence and extorting money from drug users during crackdowns.
A letter signed on Monday by National Police Chief General Neth Savoeun identified the suspended officers as Brigadier General Thorng Vandy, provincial deputy police chief in charge of anti-drug department, Captain Pov Chivion, anti-drugs bureau chief, and his deputy Captain Touch Theara.
The letter said the four other anti-drug officers were Captain Sy Bo, Captain Heng Chan Ratana, Captain Siek Chanthoeun and First Lieutenant Yon Dara Phors.
It said that the seven had to show up at the provincial police headquarters during working hours.
National Police spokesman Lieutenant General Chhay Kim Khoeun told Khmer Times yesterday that the officers committed wrongdoing, breached police discipline, code of ethics and professionalism.
He said the seven were involved in releasing drug users in exchange for money.
“We will tighten police discipline against police officers’ wrongdoing because their acts tarnish the reputation of others,” Lt Gen Kim Khoeun said. “Now, we have temporarily removed them from their positions.”
“We will evaluate if their acts should be punished by dismissal or demotion. It depends on the severity of their offence,” he added.
Lt Gen Kim Khoeun said during the crackdown, the officers arrested drug users. He said that according to the law, drug users are victims and need to be sent to rehabilitation centres following their arrests.
Guardians or parents should be invited to sign an agreement to have their children educated and get treated in their communities, he added.
“But instead, the suspended officers asked their parents to come and extorted money from them and then released the suspects,” Lt Gen Kim Khoeun said.
According the national police website, the suspended officers inflicted injuries on the suspects during the arrests.
Gen Savoeun could not be reached for comment yesterday, but he was quoted as saying in the police website that he ordered police personnel department to investigate them and serious discipline will be applied.
He also ordered provincial and municipal police chiefs and leaders of all units and police departments to abide by the procedures and warned that errant officers will be disciplined.
On July 26, Prey Veng Provincial Police Chief Brigadier General Prum Santhor visited six families whose children were detained during the drug crackdown in Pearaing district and apologised to them for his officers’ wrongdoing, according to the police website.
It said an undisclosed amount of money was returned to the families.