Jail extortion officials get knuckles rapped

May Titthara / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Yem Bros, a convict involved in extortion from jail. Supplied

Prison authorities will apply administrative punishments against three Prey Veng jail officials after finding they gained little benefit from a convicted robber who extorted money from a woman with threats of posting naked pictures of her online.

Sorn Keo, spokesman for the general department of prisons at the Interior Ministry, said a specialist team had completed its investigations into the actions of the officials.

It found they were involved with the convicted robber but did not know about the extortion attempt.

“They were careless in their jobs,” Mr Keo said.

“But they were not involved with extorting money through Facebook. They just got 10,000 or 20,000 riel ($2.50 or $5) from the convict, who used the computer and internet from the prison library.

“We will use administrative measures against those three officials. One will be reduced in rank, one will move from Prey Veng prison and the other will have their job suspended at the ministry.”

According to information posted online by Kandal provincial police chief Eav Chamroeun, Prey Veng prison inmate Yem Bros, 43, befriended a 45-year-old woman from Kandal province’s Takhmao town over Facebook.

He coaxed the victim into sending him naked photos then threatened to spread the pictures online unless she paid $5,000.

The woman said the pair began communicating in late June, and Mr Bros convinced her to send the photos on
July 7.

Five days later, he phoned her with the extortion threat.

She was only able to afford $500, which she sent via Wing money transfer service. Prison officers helped to collect the cash.

The following day she got another call from the same number demanding $5,000 and again sent money, this time $20.

Mr Bros confessed he could use the prison computer and mobile phones outside his cell with the permission of Um Ra Yoeung, deputy director of the prison, since he had bought some material for Mr Yoeung on a previous occasion.

The prisoner was jailed in 2010 in Kampot province and later transferred to Prey Veng. He is serving ten years for seven robberies in Kampot and one in Takeo province.

Am Sam Ath, senior investigator for human rights group Licadho, said he did not understand the scope of the specialist team report.

Mr Sam Ath asked how a convict could have the use of mobile phones and a computer linked to the internet.

“Prisoners are not allowed to use mobile phones or the internet in case they conduct criminal activity.

“The authorities should carry out more investigations into the case to avoid the accusation that prison is a place to commit crime.”

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