Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Firemen Accused of Extortion

Firemen Accused of Extortion

Firemen Accused of Extortion

Ten houses near the Olympic Stadium burned to the ground on Aug. 18 as firemen watched

on, refusing to help unless they were paid, residents of the second Toul Svey Prey

community said.

The first firemen reached the scene almost one hour after the blaze began but upon

arriving did nothing, saying they had mechanical problems with their fire fighting

equipment.

Residents dismissed the claims as a pretext to extort money from them. One woman,

who declined to be identified, said, she gave a necklace and a ring to firemen in

order to protect her house from the approaching fire.

Mao Reng, 32, complained the firemen stood idly by and watched the blaze engulf his

house. "I'm very angry with this attitude. I know what they wanted, but I didn't

have any money on hand. If I had, I would have given them something," he said.

Mao was still forced to pay 600,000 riels to private water trucks after they put

out the lingering fire.

Deputy-Chief of Fire Department Prak Saphat, said the firemen's problems with the

equipment were genuine. He denied the officers had demanded money, claiming that

sometimes grateful residents gave them gifts for extinguishing fires.

"It was a faulty battery, and they also had to wait for orders from their commander

on where they should spray first," he said. Saphat said the firemen were further

hindered by the decrepit state of the brigade's seven Soviet-made fire trucks which

he said were "on their death bed".

Prak complained the government had ignored his appeals for new equipment.

"What are we going to do?, we have no equipment, we don't even have diesel fuel

for the trucks," he said adding that they were filled up only in case of emergencies.

Nobody was hurt in the fire, which police estimated caused about $70,000 worth of

damage. Plice attributed the cause of the fire to Mrs. Kim Sim Leng, 35, who they

said an accident while using gasoline to cook with.

MOST VIEWED

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro

  • ACLEDA, WU to enable global money transfers

    Cambodia's largest commercial bank by total assets ACLEDA Bank Plc and global money transfer firm Western Union (WU) have partnered to offer customers cross-border money transfers to 200 countries via “ACLEDA mobile” app. In Channy, president and group managing director of ACLEDA, said the June 22 agreement

  • Walmart plans to diversify stock of Cambodia goods

    Walmart Inc, the world’s biggest retailer, on June 22 reiterated recent plans to scale up and greatly diversify its purchases of Cambodian products, according to the labour ministry. This came during a virtual working meeting between Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Samheng and

  • Cambodia detects new Covid cases after 52 days: PM

    After 52 days of zero new Covid-19 cases, Cambodia has now detected new infections, according to Prime Minister Hun Sen. In his special audio address to the nation late on June 28, Hun Sen said the new cases were detected on people who had undergone PCR tests

  • Cotton club growing in Battambang

    The global market for “vegan leather” – materials that act as alternatives to traditional leather that can be synthesised from cork, apple peels, cactus, recycled plastic, grape pomace and pineapple leaves, among other things, and supposedly require no chemicals or water to produce – is expected to