Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Blackmail scam targets officials

Blackmail scam targets officials

Blackmail scam targets officials

District governors are finding themselves on the receiving end of blackmail attempts by individuals allegedly impersonating Interior Ministry and Anti-corruption Unit (ACU) officials, according to a letter issued by Ministry of Interior secretary of state Sak Setha.

Setha’s letter explained that the district governors of Kampong Chhnang’s Cholkiri district and Battambang’s Roka Kiri district were blackmailed on March 4 and March 12, respectively. Setha detailed how extortionists “used the names of senior officials” to demand cash from the governors in return for a guarantee they wouldn’t be fired or jailed.

Neither governor, the letter went on to say, obliged the blackmailers, and the ministry has since dispatched police to investigate.

Roka Kiri District Governor Pich Malai said yesterday that one of his blackmailers assumed the persona of Sak Setha.

“He called and told me that he was Sak Setha, secretary of state for the Ministry of Interior,” said Malai, going on to describe how the mystery caller insinuated that Malai was involved in corrupt practices and instructed him to call another number.

The voice on the end of the next phone number claimed to be an ACU official, Malai said.

He claims the voice said the deputy provincial governor had been arrested and had denounced Malai. Both the purported ACU official and the Sak Setha impersonator told Malai he would have to pay them in order to make the accusations go away.

He consulted the Interior Ministry’s Mao Chandara, who assured him he was the victim of fraudsters, he said. However, Malai claims he saw through the extortionists on his own.

“After I questioned him twice, I did not think he was Sak Setha,” said Malai.

MOST VIEWED

  • Stock photo agencies cash in on Khmer Rouge tragedy
    Stock-photo companies selling images from S-21 raises ethics concerns

    A woman with short-cropped hair stares directly into the camera, her head cocked slightly to the side. On her lap is a sleeping infant just barely in the frame. The woman was the wife of a Khmer Rouge officer who fell out of favour, and

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Prime Minister: Take back islands from inactive developers

    The government will “take back” land on roughly 30 islands from private companies that have not made progress on planned developments, Prime Minister Hun Sen said in a speech on Monday that also targeted land-grabbing villagers and idle provincial governors. Speaking at the inauguration of the

  • Land on capital’s riverfront is opened up for investment

    The government has signed off on a proposal to designate more than 9 hectares of land along Phnom Penh’s riverfront as state-private land, opening it up for private investment or long-term leasing. The 9.25-hectare stretch of riverfront from the capital’s Night Market to the