District Police Chief Suspended for Drinking Without Regard for Covid-19

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Police officers in Kampong Speu province read documents in this photograph posted to the Immigration Department’s Facebook page on July 31, 2020.

A district police chief in Kampong Speu has been suspended after complaints from subordinates that he played games rather than assign work, and invited them three times to drink in Preah Sihanouk province without considering the potential for Covid-19 infection.

Oum Chamroeun, Baset district police chief, was suspended as of Thursday and is under investigation following the complaint, said Kampong Speu provincial police chief Sam Samuon.

“The superiors will be the ones who decide. I have no right to appoint, no right to remove. This is up to the leaders,” Samuon said.

A complaint dated May 31, seen by VOD this week, says Chamroeun spent his unit’s funds without producing receipts, played games at work rather than assigning tasks, and invited subordinates to drink in Preah Sihanouk’s Prey Nob district three times 一 on April 28, May 1 and May 4 一 amid a Covid-19 outbreak.

He also sought personal gain and insulted his subordinates, says the complaint, which is addressed to Samuon, National Police chief Neth Savoeun and Interior Minister Sar Kheng, and demands Chamroeun’s removal.

Kat Phlok commune police chief Khut Phanna said Chamroeun often used abusive and “immoral” words against him.

But he had not demanded Chamroeun’s removal, Phanna said.

“I do not want the superiors to remove the boss. I think it is normal between a boss and his subordinates. Sometimes, he has heavy words or light words. It is normal,” he said.

Chamroeun denied the allegations, saying his suspension was an injustice. He asked that leaders clearly investigate before taking action.

“It’s very unfair to me. I work hard day and night without rest. We, the doers, are always wrong while those who do nothing are always right,” he said. “Together they accuse us.”

The complaint is thumb-printed by about 30 officers, including those with the ranks of deputy district police chief and commune police chief.

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