Brothers Arrested for Impersonating Officials, Extortion

2 min read
Battambang provincial court building in 2017. (Huy Ousa/VOD)
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Battambang authorities arrested two people for allegedly impersonating authorities and for extorting money from another person.

Im Kosal, a spokesperson for the Battambang provincial police, said on Tuesday that police arrested Em Sovisal and Em Soviseth in Battambang city’s O’Char commune. Kosal did not say what kind of officials they were impersonating but claimed a victim came to authorities claiming the brothers extorted “thousands” of dollars from them.

The pair were sent to provincial prison and would be questioned by the provincial court, Kosal said.

“It is hard for us to know how many times [they extorted] because we do not have complaints from other victims, and this is the first complaint so we implemented it and we hope if other victims had been involved in this, they filed a complaint so that authorities have more evidence,” he said.

A Facebook post about the case from Battambang provincial police on Monday said the two had impersonated authorities, without specifying what level of officials they were pretending to be.

Kosal said that the Sovisal and Soviseth had been connected to another case in Pursat province, but he asked a reporter to ask the Information Ministry for more details about the Pursat arrest.

Information Minister Khieu Kanharith posted about the case on Sunday, saying that the two were brothers who were previously detained by Pursat provincial police. The pair had allegedly impersonated a range of roles: journalists, the Interior Ministry’s economic police officers, forestry department officials and officials from the Information Ministry.

“They keep extorting money from other people and their pictures have been posted [on Facebook because] they were detained by the Pursat provincial police. Yesterday, the Battambang police arrested them in connection with the case of taking and using other people’s names to extort money from people,” Kanharith wrote in the post.

Information Ministry spokesperson Phos Sovann said he was not familiar with the case.

According to local news outlet Bayon Radio, five journalists, including Sovisal and Soviseth, were detained by police from Pursat’s Krakor district on suspicion of extortion from district residents.

The news story report added that the brothers had also intimidated families in Krakor’s Ponnak village who kept lumber under their houses, claiming to be police officers from the Interior Ministry.

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