City says ‘fake cops’ nailed

Four of five men arrested for impersonating elite police officers
Four of five men arrested for impersonating elite police officers pose for photos in Phnom Penh yesterday. Pha Lina

City says ‘fake cops’ nailed

Capital police yesterday revealed the identities of five men who had allegedly been posing as Flying Tigers – an elite Ministry of Interior rapid-response unit – and extorting money from victims who believed they were in danger of being jailed.

The men were arrested separately around Phnom Penh late last week after the municipal police received reports – including two formal complaints filed in December near Tuol Sangke commune – that officials were demanding money from travellers at night.

“These suspects were active armed robbers.… They wore police uniforms, and [carried] guns, electric batons, [radio phones] and handcuffs,” said Lieutenant Colonel Eng Sophea, chief of the Municipal Serious Criminal Police Unit.

The suspects were identified as security guards Khuon Thavarith, 23, and Rith Ratha, 29, and the unemployed 39-year-old Seng Vimol, aka Chea, 32-year-old Pen Leakvuthynea, aka Mab, and Khat Rith, 34.

Sophea said that while the fake police officers routinely accepted cash and jewellery on the spot, they were also known to coerce victims into selling their motorbikes and mobile phones for cash at nearby pawn shops.

He added that the five men had all confessed during questioning, admitting to at least 10 other robberies between 2013 and 2015.

“Their actions caused public misunderstanding and resentment of the national police’s reputation, honour and work,” Sophea said.

Major Sok Darith, the municipal Serious Crime Unit’s deputy chief, said that the five suspects were sent to municipal court for questioning yesterday afternoon and charged for “stealing in aggravating circumstances, using weapons without permission, and impersonating competent police”. If found guilty, they face 7 to 15 years in prison.

The five suspects could not be reached for comment.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia’s image problem

    In opening remarks at a recent event, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luy David said information can be a double-edged sword. He told a European Institute of Asian Studies (EIAS) briefing seminar that the media has unfairly presented

  • PM Hun Sen says dangers averted

    Delivering a campaign speech from his home via Facebook Live on Thursday, caretaker Prime Minister Hun Sen said his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) had carried the country through danger in its latest mandate. He was specifically referring to the threat of a “colour revolution”

  • Kingdom's trade deal with EU questioned before poll

    A European Union (EU) mission met with senior government officials at the Ministry of Interior on Tuesday as the 28-member bloc monitors an agreement under which Cambodian goods reach the crucial European market tariff-free. Some 10 commissioners are in the Kingdom as part of a seven-day

  • A new carrier takes off in capital

    Cambodia Airways, the latest passenger airline to enter the Kingdom, launched its first domestic flight on Tuesday. Flight KR801, carrying 145 passengers, left the Phnom Penh International Airport at 9:50am and landed in Siem Reap at 10:35am in an Airbus A319. Cambodia Airways marketing and branding