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Fate of suspended Prey Veng police officers still unclear

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National Police spokesman Chhay Kim Khoeun said on Monday the case needs further investigation of the crimes committed to determine the proper punishment. NATIONAL POLICE

Fate of suspended Prey Veng police officers still unclear

The fate of the seven Prey Veng anti-drug police officers suspended on July 27 on allegations of kidnapping and extortion is still being decided, said a National Police spokesperson.

The officers are accused of arresting alleged drug dealers, torturing them and then extorting money from their families for their release. Six families were victims of the scam.

National Police chief Neth Savoeun suspended the anti-drug department officers pending a decision, but they are still required to show up during working hours at the Prey Veng police station.

Prey Veng provincial police chief Prum Santhor apologised to the families and returned their money in Mesar Brachan commune, Pea Reang district, in Prey Veng, said the National Police website.

National Police spokesman Chhay Kim Khoeun said on Monday the case needs further investigation of the crimes committed to determine the proper punishment.

“I can’t comment much about the case because we are still investigating who will need to be demoted from their rank, who should be expelled from the National Police, who should be sent to court, and who will be temporarily suspended from work. So, investigations are not complete at this point,” Kim Khoeun said.

Kim Khoeun said the punishment will reflect the violations of professional ethics and the disciplinary decisions of the National Police.

The case came to light after the July 20 arrest of two young men who claimed they were tortured at the police station until their parents handed over four million riel ($1,000). One police officer was sent to the provincial court.

A clarification from the Prey Veng provincial police obtained by The Post on Monday states that according to the victims’ complaint, Prey Veng police have filed a case against Anti-drug department deputy director Tuoch Theara, the alleged ringleader.

The victims, Thai Samad, 26, and Hoeun Rath 28, allege they were pulled over in Kampong Leav district, Prey Veng province by Theara who drew his firearm and hit them.

Prey Veng provincial police chief Prum Santhor could not be reached for comment on Monday. Prey Veng provincial court spokesman Tep Phalla said he did not know if Theara’s case had been sent to court.

“I will look for the judge’s detention decision and let you know,” he said.

The suspended police officers are police chief in charge of drugs Thong Vandy, Anti-drug department director Pov Chivoan, Anti-drug department deputy director Tuoch Theara, Anti-drug bureau chief Si Bo, and officers Heng Chanratana, Seak Chanthoeun, and Yun Darasak.

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