Two local journalists in Pursat province were yesterday arrested over extortion allegations levelled by a group of villagers transporting wood to build homes in Phnom Kravanh district.
Vong Saveth, deputy chief of Phnom Kravanh district police, identified the two suspects as Uy Kimngoy, 47, a reporter with Komnit Khmer Newspaper in Pursat province, and Thoam Ny, 52, a reporter with Cheath Khmer Newspaper, also based in Pursat province.
Mr Saveth said that on Saturday the two suspects stopped a group of 10 villagers transporting timber from protected forests for their personal use in house construction.
After stopping the villagers, the two suspects photographed them and the wood before demanding $100 each to not publish stories about the timber or report the villagers’ actions to authorities.
The villagers settled on paying each suspect $50, said Mr Saveth.
Yesterday, the two suspects attempted to again extort villagers, who then notified local police for intervention, Mr Saveth said.
“They were arrested by our police based on villagers’ complaints,” he said. “After their arrest, police confiscated a motorbike and their press cards.”
“They are accused of threats accompanied by extortion,” he added. “They are being detained for further questioning at the provincial police headquarters.”
A Pursat province police officer said that the two suspects will today appear in court for questioning.