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Reporter held over bribe claim

A journalist and two villagers have been sent to Pursat provincial court and detained in provincial prison over allegations that they extorted money from illegal loggers in Phnom Kravanh district.

Orn Sokhun, Pursat military police deputy commander, said yesterday that Phnom Kravanh district military police arrested the suspects on Sunday after receiving a complaint from villagers.

The complaint alleged that they had committed a “forestry offence”. They are also alleged to have extorted money from illegal loggers “in exchange for secret information”.

He added that military officials had sent the suspects to court yesterday after claiming that the journalist had a business relationship with illegal loggers, while the two villagers were his accomplices.

You Yoeun Ny, acting provincial prosecutor, identified the suspects as Chea Veasna, a reporter for the Kaset Smardeycheat (National Spirit Newspaper), and Van Nalin and Bou Na, who are villagers in the Phnom Kravanh district.

He added that the suspects are accused of attempting to extort money and have been temporarily detained in provincial prison pending further investigation.

You Yoeun Ny also said that if the accused are found guilty, they could face between two and five years in prison and fines ranging between four and 10 million riels (about US$1,000 to $2,500).

Oum Sarin, president of the Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists said on Sunday that all journalists in Cambodia should “abide by the law. If they do anything wrong, they must be punished by the law”.

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