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General on weapons charge

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General Mith Virak is arrested by military police at his home in Stung Meanchey commune, in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district, yesterday.

A BRIGADIER general was arrested by military police in Phnom Penh yesterday for allegedly possessing illegal weapons, a charge officials said was just one part of an ongoing investigation against the officer.

Mith Virak, a brigadier general at the Ministry of Defence, was apprehended yesterday morning at his villa in Meanchey district’s Stung Meanchey commune.

Roughly a dozen military police surrounded the compound, where two Land Cruiser SUVs and two other cars were parked.

“He was arrested for possessing illegal weapons, and those were confiscated,” said Sao Sokha, commander of the national military police. “He also has some more weapons that are not officially registered.”

The case, Sao Sokha added, is “not only related to illegal weapons, but also other issues, so the investigation is ongoing”.

“He has more problems, so we are still working on his case,” Sao Sokha said.

Police also confiscated one of Mith Virak’s Land Cruisers, which bore Royal Cambodian Armed Forces licence plates. He was taken to national military police headquarters for questioning following his
arrest, Sao Sokha said.

Meanchey District Governor Kouch Chamroeun said local police had not been involved in the investigation. A military police officer at the scene who asked not to be named said other law enforcement
departments had not been informed of the investigation in order to preserve the integrity of the case against Mith Virak.

“If we joined with other departments, information would leak out and there would be intervention to help him,” the official said.

Four handguns and an AK-47 rifle were confiscated at the scene yesterday, the official said. He said Mith Virak was also involved in a land dispute case, but declined to offer further details.

Ministry of Defence spokesman Chhum Socheat could not be reached for comment yesterday. Ros Chhorm, deputy secretary general of the defence ministry, said he was unaware of the case and had never heard of Mith Virak.

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