Four men were arrested yesterday in Mondulkiri province’s Keo Seima district on allegations that they had posed as soldiers in order to take money from villagers operating a sawmill, police said yesterday.
Captain Keo Bunthoeun, a district penal police officer, identified the suspects as Bin Silo, 47, and Than Kosal, 30 – both of whom claimed to work for an unidentified environmental NGO – and local farmers Dorn Thea, 52, and Sim Touch, 46.
“They falsely presented themselves as military officers and extorted 200,000 riel [about $50] each from villagers who were running a sawmill in the forest . . . in exchange for not arresting them or reporting them to authorities,” said Bunthoeun, adding that the suspects had shaken down about a dozen villagers.
Provincial police official Sum Sophorn said the arrests were made after confused villagers – who had never been shaken down before – reported the incident to police.
Deputy provincial police chief Heng Mara said the four had been preliminarily charged with impersonating a military official and extortion.