Exile is over for disgraced Siem Reap provincial ex-police chief Mao Pov, who drunkenly fired his gun in a Siem Reap hotel in 2012, with the Ministry of Interior moving him into a new position charged with establishing a provincial police force in the newly formed Tbong Khmum province.
According to a copy of an April 4 prakas signed by Interior Minister Sar Kheng, Pov’s reassignment to the province – which was recently carved out of Kampong Cham province – takes effect immediately.
“The responsibility has been offered to Brigadier General Mao Pov, identification number 0612, to join the working group for preparing an infrastructure of administration and civil servants in Tbong Khmum province to set up Tbong Khmum Provincial [Police] Commissariat,” Kheng’s prakas reads, before noting that relevant authorities and “Pov have to implement this from the date of signing”.
It was also Kheng who signed the letter removing Pov from his position as Siem Reap police chief in October 2012 for firing off several shots in Siem Reap’s Lok Yen Hotel after an apparently boozy dinner.
Pov maintained at the time that he had fired in self-defence, because he thought an “enemy” had followed him to his room, and was released after an apology, drawing fire from rights groups.
Lor Chan, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc in Preah Vihear – and provincial coordinator in Siem Reap at the time of Pov’s removal – said at the time that a woman had accused the official of beating her a month before the shooting, but charges had been dropped.
Chan yesterday said the appropriateness of Pov’s new job depended on whether he had learned the error of his ways.
“We as a civil society group support the reappointment of Pov if he changes his disgraceful behaviour,” he said. “But if he will not change his behaviour, then we are still worried about the safety of individual people as well as the nation.”
A police official who declined to be named said yesterday that Pov was also rumoured to be the top choice for police chief of Tbong Khmum, but National Police spokesman Kirth Chantharith could not be reached for comment.