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

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia's cluster cases jump to 259

    The Ministry of Health on February 27 recorded 26 more cases of Covid-19 linked to the February 20 community transmission, bringing the total to 259 in one week. The 26 include three Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. The ministry noted that five of the Chinese