Three police officers were yesterday questioned by the Anti-Corruption Unit for allegedly accepting bribes to release 18 Chinese nationals arrested last week after being accused of operating Voice over Internet Protocol scams in Kampong Speu province.
Kampong Speu provincial police arrested the 18 Chinese nationals last week after raiding a warehouse rented by the suspects. Officers confiscated 21 phones, five laptops, two printers, 33 desktops and six walkie-talkies.
Lieutenant General Y Sok Khy, director of the Interior Ministry’s Counter Terrorism and Transactional Crime Department, said that his department later detained three police officers suspected of accepting bribes to release the suspects.
“We arrested [the police officers] on July 18 because they were suspected of accepting $40,000 for the release of the Chinese nationals,” Lt Gen Sok Khy said.
Lt Gen Sok Khy identified the three officers as Soeu Sitha, deputy director of the Identification Department at the General Department of Identification; Rath Pin, Khmer Identity bureau officer at the General Department of Identification; and Van Sopheap, legal procedure bureau officer at the General Department of Immigration.
The officers were sent to the Anti-Corruption Unit to be questioned after being questioned at Phnom Penh Municipal Court. Deputy prosecutor Say Nora could not be reached for comment.
Lt Gen Sok Khy added that the General Department of Immigration is preparing to deport the 18 Chinese nationals.
Lieutenant General Uk Heisela, deputy director- general at the General Department of Immigration, confirmed that the 18 Chinese nationals are detained pending their deportation.
“We are waiting to prepare the documents to deport them back to China,” he said.
Lt Gen Heisela added that as an officer at GDI, Mr Sopheap was not supposed to intervene in the case involving the Chinese nationals.
“He is an officer but had no right to intervene in order to release the Chinese nationals,” he said, while declining to comment any further.
General Kang Sokhorn, director-general at the General Department of Identification, confirmed that two of his officers were arrested but declined to elaborate on the case.
“They [officers] are working on the case and I have no comment,” Gen Sokhorn said.
Om Yentieng, chairman of Anti-Corruption Unit, declined to comment yesterday.