Siem Reap Provincial Police Chief Ho Vanny will give up the office he has held for just two months, amid online speculation that his transfer is related to crackdowns on illegal gambling in the temple town.
Vanny will now take over as deputy chief of the Tourist Police Department and will be replaced today by Siem Reap Town Police Chief Tith Narong, according to a Ministry of Interior announcement dated July 3. No explanation was given for the transfer.
Vanny yesterday downplayed the transfer, saying it was common for police officials to be shuffled around. He did say that he was involved in a handful of illegal gambling cases, and in one instance ran into pushback from senior officials, though he did not name them. “But you will have to figure out by yourself about the intervention [and] whether it affected anyone in this case,” he said.
The transfer saw Facebook users supporting the former police chief and linking his departure to the gambling cases, comments Vanny said were encouraging for him. “I am proud because as you can see, all newspapers, about 300,000 Facebook users support me on whether what I did was wrong or right. Therefore, the swap is full of pride for me,” he said.
Provincial Governor Khem Bunsong and Kith Chantharith, National Police spokesman, could not be reached for comment.
Incoming police chief Narong, who is related to Governor Bunsong, did not want to comment on the circumstances leading to the transfer. “What he has done is his business. If you want to know, you should investigate by yourself,” he said.