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Reporter charged in bribery case

Siem Reap Province
A JOURNALIST at a Khmer-language daily newspaper was arrested and placed in pretrial detention in Siem Reap province on Thursday after being charged with attempting to extort money from the owner of an illegal timber warehouse, and local officials are currently looking for others believed to have been involved in the scheme, a court prosecutor said.

Siem Reap provincial court prosecutor Ty Soveinthal said Sim Samnang, a reporter for Koh Santepheap, went to the warehouse in late March and threatened to expose it to the authorities unless its owner paid him and other journalists a bribe. He added that Sim Samnang had been charged with fraud.

Investigating judge Ith Samphos said he had decided to keep Sim Samnang in jail while the case is being investigated.

“We will release him if we can’t find enough evidence,” he said.

At the police station, Sim Samnang proclaimed his innocence, saying two other journalists had convinced him to go to the warehouse, and that he had merely asked its owner for money for gasoline. “I just told the owner of the shop to give some money for gasoline expenses to the other journalists,” he said.

Court officials said Thursday that no trial date had been set for the case.

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