Gov’t journo arrested over alleged extortion

Authorities record money and documents as evidence at a provincial police station in Preah Vihear after an AKP journalist was arrested
Authorities record money and documents as evidence at a provincial police station in Preah Vihear after an AKP journalist was arrested on Tuesday night. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Gov’t journo arrested over alleged extortion

A journalist from state news agency Agence Kampuchea-Presse (AKP) was arrested on Tuesday evening in Preah Vihear town after the owners of several local shops that make and sell wooden furniture and handicrafts accused him of extortion, provincial police officials said.

Khat Hun, the director of the provincial penal police office, said AKP journalist Tith Ro, 43, was charged with extortion yesterday and that authorities were also seeking to arrest an Apsara TV reporter named Chhoeun Chan in connection with the case. Hun said Chan had fled.

AKP director Sok Mom Nimol declined to comment on Ro’s arrest until the agency had investigated the case. Apsara TV denied its reporter had been involved in extortion and said he had not fled but was instead taking care of his sick wife.

Apsara TV head of news Nop Channarin also claimed that Chan had been falsely implicated by Ro.

According to police, a number of villagers have come forward to accuse Ro and other local journalists of extortion after hearing about his arrest.

“This is not the first time that these journalists have extorted from the villagers. Sometimes, they demanded 500,000 riel [about $125] and sometimes 1 million riel, or they threatened to take wooden tables or chairs instead of money,” Hun said.

“More villagers will come and file complaints to us . . . the journalists have to respect their ethics and not do that anymore.”

Toun Oun, 49, a shop owner in Preah Vihear town, claimed yesterday that a group of six journalists had tried to extort her on Monday.

“[They] took a lot of pictures of my products and then they asked for about 200,000 riel. I told them that I did not have the money and I could only give them 150,000 riel,” she said.

Oun said she saw press cards from Apsara TV, Channel 9, and others.

“They demanded [to take] wooden chairs, but I did not agree. They told me that if I did not agree with them, they will broadcast bad news about my shop,” she said.

Pheng Noeun, 53, another shop owner, said that the journalists had threatened to report that his business was illegal if he didn’t pay them.

Lor Chan, a monitor with rights group Adhoc, said Ro had denied the allegations when he met him in court.

Police have said they will continue to investigate the other journalists allegedly involved in the case.

MOST VIEWED

  • Guards protest dismissals, reject claims of sharing naked photos of child

    Some 20 former security guards at the US Embassy in Phnom Penh protested on Tuesday against their dismissal. They accused their employers of falsely claiming they had viewed and shared child pornography from their mobile phones as grounds for their termination. In total, 32 personnel were dismissed

  • We’re going to Wisney World!

    More than 6,000 mostly Chinese attendees witnessed the inauguration ceremony of a $1 billion Sihanoukville resort project called Wisney World in the capital on Wednesday. The event on Koh Pich, attended by several senior Cambodian government officials, is a joint venture between China’s AMC International and

  • Funcinpec urges probe into deadly Preah Sihanouk accident

    THE Funcinpec party has urged the government, especially the Ministry of Interior, to investigate the traffic accident in Preah Sihanouk province which left Prince Norodom Ranariddh badly injured and his wife Ouk Phalla dead. Funcinpec Vice President You Hokry told reporters at Botum Votey pagoda,

  • Gov’t continues China tilt as ties with the US slide on ‘interference’ in Kingdom’s internal affairs

    CHINA has granted some $131 million in aid to the Cambodian military. It comes as yet another sign that the Kingdom is strengthening strategic ties with its Asian neighbour to counter increasingly cold relations with the United States. The aid was announced as part of a