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Shift in police power as new chief ascends

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Touch Naroth (L) and Chuon Sovan attend a ceremony Wednesday, Oct. 3, to transfer the title of Phnom Penh police chief to the latter. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

Touch Naroth (L) and Chuon Sovan attend a ceremony Wednesday, Oct. 3, to transfer the title of Phnom Penh police chief to the latter. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

Five police officials including long-time Phnom Penh Municipal Police chief Touch Naroth were removed from their positions, promoted and replaced yesterday during a ceremony held at the Phnom Penh Municipal Police station.

Naroth was replaced by Chuon Sovan, a former national deputy police chief, and given the position of director of the Ministry of Interior’s bodyguard department. He was also promoted to the rank of two-star general during the ceremony, which was closed to members of the media.

Pol Pithei, municipal deputy police chief, was promoted to director of the anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection department, and also given the rank of two-star general.

Three lower-ranking national police officials were promoted as well.

Yem Samnang was made chief of the police administrative affairs department of the National Police; Chuon Narin – director of the serious crimes office – was promoted to municipal deputy police chief; and Beng Darana was promoted to municipal deputy police chief from his role as director of the planning and accounting office.

Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, pointed out that limiting the length of mandates on high-level positions was a commendable way to avoid corruption, but stressed it was important to ask why such changes were ordered.

“If they have misadministration [for instance], they have to take legal action, and if they committed corruption, they have to be investigated and take action through the legal procedure,” he said.

National Police spokesman Kirt Chantharith said yesterday that the shuffle of positions was “normal”.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kim Yuthana at yuthana.kim@phnompenhpost.com

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