A Fisheries Administration officer in Siem Reap was charged with accepting $369,000 in unofficial payoffs yesterday after being arrested by the Anti-Corruption Unit on Tuesday.
Rem Som Un, who works at the fisheries department of Damdek commune in Sotr Nikum district, allegedly took bribes from fishermen and poachers in his area. If he is found guilty, the penalty could range from two to five years in prison and a fine of 4 million to 10 million riel (about $1,000 to $2,500).
“The provincial court just charged him with misappropriation of public funds and he was questioned by the investigating judge,” said Ream Chan Mony, a deputy prosecutor. “We are going to investigate more.”
Sous Narin, provincial coordinator for the rights group Adhoc, said he had not received any complaints from fishermen in Damdek commune.
However, Fisheries Action Coalition Team program manager Senglong Youk said bribery was rampant across the province. Some wealthier fishing enterprises, including ones from Vietnam, could be charged more than $1,000 per night of fishing, while poorer Cambodian fishermen often had to pay smaller bribes.
He added that officials often allocated the most abundant fishing areas to those who paid the most, and turned a blind eye to violations of fisheries laws in exchange for bribes.
Additional reporting by Igor Kossov