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Ferry chief held

Ferry chief held

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

gangsters.

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

Cherokee jeep.

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

traffic.

Apart from that, the ferry chief also allowed his house to be

used for hiding stolen vehicles before being taken to Vietnam for

re-sale.

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

last year.

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.

Soeur said

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

said.

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