Police in Siem Reap arrested a self-proclaimed journalist Wednesday on charges he allegedly impersonated an environment official to extort money from a business owner in Siem Reap’s Kralanh district.
Sim Chhun Leang, 56, also known as Ta Leang, was sent to the Siem Reap Provincial Court on Thursday afternoon.
Provincial deputy police chief Huot Sothy told The Post that he did not know if the court had decided to charge him.
Sothy said internal security forces in collaboration with the Siem Reap provincial police office in Svay Dangkum commune, detained Chhun Leang, who also claims to be a journalist, on charges of fraud and extortion. He is from the province’s Veal Village, Kokchak Commune.
“The arrest came after we received complaints from a representative of the Siem Reap provincial Department of Environment and a business owner.
“The arrest was made after an investigation by Keut Vannareth, the prosecutor of the Siem Reap Provincial Court, and a direct order from the police chief,” Sothy said.
He said Chhun Leang had made a call to a business owner in Kralanh district, informing him that he was a provincial environment official and a journalist with orders from provincial leaders to ask the owner to help with some money.
Failing this, he would ask his team to inspect the business. The business owner immediately filed a complaint to the police.
Sothy said during questioning, the suspect confessed to the crime.
Siem Reap Provincial Court spokesman Yin Srang said on Thursday that he had not received the case because it was a holiday.
Siem Reap provincial Department of Information director Liv Sokhon said he had not heard of Chhun Leang.
He said he received some information from the report that Chhun Leang claimed he was working for “Thmey Pet” or “Real News” media, but he said he did not know if he was a journalist.
Sokhon said according to the report, the suspect had called several business owners in Siem Reap but they did not file a complaint.
The Department of Information did not have enough evidence to file charges, but in this last case, the business owner may have the proper evidence.
“I have no comment, we just ask the authorities and the court to do their job according to the law.
“If they find that he committed the acts they should punish him accordingly because if he did such a thing, it would be disgraceful for good journalists,” he said.