Police arrested Phat Saret, chief of the Neak Loeung ferry on
Feb. 28, charging him with involvement in a car theft ring organized by armed
Nguon Soeur, Commissioner of the Phnom Penh Police
Inspect-orate said that during a preliminary interrogation Saret admitted his
direct involvement in purchasing and reselling eight Land-cruisers and one
The police commissioner quot-ed Saret as admitting that he
joined Ros Chhun's gang in August last year and had helped coordinate shipment
of at least 30 vehicles, mostly after dusk when the ferry is normally closed to
Apart from that, the ferry chief also allowed his house to be
used for hiding stolen vehicles before being taken to Vietnam for
Saret's son Phat Mach bought one Land-cruiser from Ros Ty, one
of Ros Chhun's son, for $13,500, but lost it when UNTAC discovered it in April
He is now in police custody along with his father on charges
of being one of the racketeers.
The arrest of the Phats was prompted by
the earlier arrest of Ros Chhun and the subsequent investigation into the
car-theft ring the former minister is alleged to have set up.
his department learned about Saret's trip to the capital and made the arrest in
the compound of the Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications where the ferry
chief was about to attend a meeting on Feb. 28.
Seven suspects currently
being detained pending trial include Ros Chhun, Ros Ty, Ros Taing, Phat Saret,
Phat Mach and two other policemen.
Nguon Soeur said "Ros Chhun is a big
boss within his team which is well armed."
He said the campaign to crack
down on criminal activity -known to include high ranking officials - won full
support from senior government officials.
"We are not afraid of any
threats. We want people to be able to walk 24 hours a day on the streets," he