Demoted Police Chief Denies Alleged Bribe: ‘I Don’t Dare to Give My View’

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

Samraong Thom commune police chief Huot Seiha denied he had taken $3,500 from three detained people in exchange for their release, as he was removed from his post and demoted one rank over the allegation but allowed to stay in the force.

Even before any questions were asked, Seiha started laughing when reached by phone.

“I have nothing to elaborate, and my stance is that I did not extort money,” Seiha said. “I’ll just inform you this.”

“You must know that when there are complaints, and I do not challenge it … they can do whatever they want to,” he continued.

Asked why he didn’t challenge the complaint, Seiha said: “It’s fine since it is the way it is, and we can’t do anything about it.”

“Smile and accept it,” he said. “I don’t feel resentful about it.”

He concluded: “Let our brothers and sisters analyze it. I don’t dare to give my view on it.”

On Wednesday, Kandal Provincial Police announced that following media allegations that Seiha had taken $3,500 from three youths in July to secure their release, Kandal police chief Chhoeun Sochett had launched an investigation.

The investigation found that Seiha had “implemented wrong procedure.” He was questioned and his case sent to National Police for a decision.

A document signed by Interior Minister Sar Kheng then removed Seiha from his commune police chief position, and demoted him one rank to captain. Seiha remains in the police force.

Sochett, the Kandal provincial police chief, declined to elaborate on the investigation or disciplinary action.

“Have you seen on my page what I posted and what it said? And look into the Ministry of Interior statement, what it says. We will comply with it.”

Local media reports suggested the three youths had been arrested in relation to alleged drug crimes.

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