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Couple file extortion complaint against senior police officials

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times Share:
The police chiefs deny allegations against them. Supplied

A couple in Kampong Chhnang province’s Svay Chrum commune on Friday filed a complaint with the provincial court against three senior provincial police officials, accusing them of detaining family members to extort money.

Chuon Thieb and his wife Chan Vanna filed the complaint against Major Pov Siphann, provincial anti-drugs bureau chief, Brigadier General Chun Tharith, deputy provincial police chief, and Kim Sareth, deputy chief of the provincial anti-crime department.

The court action followed a complaint the couple filed to the Anti-Corruption Unit over the case in April.

On April 12, provincial police led by Maj Siphann went to crack down on drug crime and gambling at a coffee house behind the plaintiffs’ home.

Police arrested several people including Mr Thieb’s son Chuon Thunthean, 18, while he was buying coffee.

Mr Thunthean’s Zoomer X was among several motorbikes seized. Police let him go, along with his motorbike, after a urine test detected no drugs.

The family say Mr Thunthean told his father that a worker who maintained their pigs had his bike confiscated.

He asked his father to seek its return but when he did, police arrested him.

Another group of police officers went to the family home to arrest Mr Thunthean and confiscate his motorbike again.

The family say Mr Siphann and his officers then demanded $20,000 from Ms Vanna for their release.

Mr Thieb’s son was freed after paying them $100 but Mr Thieb was not released. Police ordered his wife and his son to bring the amount of money they demanded.

Mr Siphann agreed to release Mr Thieb after his wife paid about $3,000, they claim.

“Please punish Pov Siphann, Chun Tharith and Kim Sareth according to the law,” Mr Thieb said in his complaint. “I demand my money back and I demand $13,000 of the compensation.”

Mr Thieb said that he decided to take legal action at the provincial court because of inaction on the part of the ACU.

“I met with Chun Tharith, Kim Sareth and Pov Siphann in Chun Tharith’s room, if he denies the meeting, please ask him to swear it in front of Preah Ang Dongkeu in front of the Royal Palace,” he added.

Brig Gen Chun Tharith said yesterday that he and his officials deny the allegations.

“We did not meet with him; it is not true,” Mr Tharith said. “I am not involved with the extortion of money.”

Mr Tharith added that he will have a meeting today with his superiors to discuss what steps will be taken next.

“Their complaint has really damaged my reputation, but I will wait until after the meeting to see what to do next,” said Mr Tharith.

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