The deputy chief of the Banteay Meanchey provincial police anti-drug bureau has been arrested for allegedly taking bribes in a case officials said is linked to the high-profile arrest earlier this year of former Banteay Meanchey police chief Hun Hean.
Khieu Sara, 45, was sent to Banteay Meanchey provincial prison on Friday after being charged with corruption under the UNTAC criminal code, said Theam Chanpiseth, a judge at Banteay Meanchey provincial court. The charge carries a possible prison term of between three and seven years.
The arrest follows the apprehension in January of Hun Hean and Banteay Meanchey deputy police chief Chheang Sun, who stand accused of taking bribes from drug traffickers and have also been charged with corruption.
Their case is reportedly linked to that of former National Authority for Combating Drugs secretary general Moek Dara, who was also arrested in January and charged with corruption.
“Khieu Sara’s case is connected with that of the former provincial police chief, but I’m not sure whether it will be tried in one case or not,” Theam Chanpiseth said, adding that the investigation against Khieu Sara had already concluded and that a hearing in the case would be scheduled “soon”. Current Banteay Meanchey provincial police chief Kheng Sum confirmed that Khieu Sara’s arrest was connected to the case against Hun Hean, though he added that he was unfamiliar with the particulars.
The Kingdom’s Anticorruption Unit played a key role in the arrests earlier this year of Moek Dara and Hun Hean, whose trials are expected to begin within the next few months. ACU spokesman Keo Remy said yesterday that the office had aided in the investigation of Khieu Sara as well.
“With cooperation from provincial authorities, we obtained concrete evidence that led to the arrest,” he said.
Banteay Meanchey has been the primary front in the government’s much-ballyhooed battle against corruption in recent months. In addition to the arrests of Hun Hean and Chheang Sun, Lim Mab, head of the
anti-drug bureau in Banteay Meanchey, was arrested last year on charges of possession of illegal drugs and counterfeit money.
Nuon Vanna, the former president of Banteay Meanchey provincial prison, was arrested in December after being accused of accepting bribes to release a prisoner, and By Nasy, former head of the
administration office in the Banteay Meanchey anti-drug bureau, was arrested in January and later released on bail pending investigation in a bribery case.