Alleged Police Poser in Court for Driving Man From ‘Red Zone’

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A traffic police officer in Phnom Penh on September 15, 2020. (VOD)

A Cambodian man accused by police of impersonating a law enforcement officer and transporting a Chinese man outside a locked-down Covid-19 “red zone” in Sihanoukville was sent to the provincial court on Wednesday, a court official said.

Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court spokesperson Lim Bunheng said Wednesday evening that the court received the case and prosecutors were investigating, but no charges had been filed.

Cambodian Lou Kimfat, 27, had pretended to be a policeman by displaying an officer’s uniform and cap in the front of his car, and drove 27-year-old Chinese national Chen Xubo from a restricted area in Sihanoukville’s Bei commune, according to provincial authorities.

“In this case, [Kimfat] has committed a crime. He moved from area to area, from a lockdown zone,” provincial police chief Chuon Narin said on Tuesday. “He is impersonating a competent officer, so we have to send this case [to the court] and implement legal measures.”

Kimfat was a resident of Phnom Penh’s Prampi Makara district, Narin said. Chen, the man being driven by Kimfat, could face administrative fines, he added.

Under the nation’s new Covid-19 Law, violators of specific public health measures and lockdown restrictions may be fined up to $5,000 and face up to 20 years in prison.

On Monday, prior to his arrest, Kimfat was driving a white Toyota Camry carrying Xubo, who was staying at the Nanhai International Hotel in Bei commune, a locked-down area, according to a Preak Sihanouk police report. The driver, who works as a translator, was detained by authorities at a checkpoint and sent for questioning at the provincial police station’s major crimes office.

Kimfat told police that the uniform on the car’s front seat belonged to his brother-in-law, who works in the Interior Ministry’s border police department, the report says. A general’s hat left on the dashboard belonged to his friend, a Phnom Penh municipal police officer.

His friend and his brother-in-law had forgotten their clothing in his car, Kimfat told police, according to their report.

Preah Sihanouk began restricting access in and out of the province in early March amid Cambodia’s worst Covid-19 outbreak to date, which began in February. Since April 23, authorities have blocked off Sihanoukville, while five villages in Buon commune have been designated “red zones.”

Additional reporting by Ouch Sony

(Translated and edited from the original article on VOD Khmer)

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