Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Former Kampong Thom MP charged after taking aim at the force in a series of Facebook posts

Former Kampong Thom MP charged after taking aim at the force in a series of Facebook posts

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Sorn Samneang was arrested by the National Military Police on Sunday. Facebook

Former Kampong Thom MP charged after taking aim at the force in a series of Facebook posts

A former provincial Military Police officer in Kampong Thom who was fired last year for poor performance was charged on Tuesday for a series of Facebook posts that authorities say disparaged the provincial force’s reputation.

Posting on Facebook under the handle “Yum Reach Lok Key”, Sorn Samneang claimed his firing was an injustice, noting that he had been involved in large marijuana and timber busts.

He was arrested by the National Military Police on Sunday and the Kampong Thom Provincial Court charged him the next day.

Say Nora, the provincial court’s spokesman said Samneang was charged with public defamation on Facebook and inciting to commit a crime. He faces up to two years imprisonment if convicted.

“The prosecutor charged him with two counts and forwarded the case to an investigating judge. We requested the judge to keep him in pretrial detention,” he said.

Eng Hy, a spokesman for the National Military Police, said he was questioned by provincial police and the provincial prosecutor. He said Samneang was fired last year for making several mistakes, including an incident that led to someone’s death.

Before his arrest, Samneang posted on Facebook multiple times attempting to explain the events that led to his firing. He also denied accusations, including one that he used someone else’s name to get hired as a district Military Police officer in Baray.

According to documents he posted in 2013, he received orders to crack down on drugs. This led to him and two other officers stopping a car that turned out to be carrying 172 kilograms of marijuana.

During the operation, the car owner was detained illegally by, Samneang claimed, the other two officers, who attempted to extort the driver. But he was also charged for extortion. However, he was exonerated by the court, which found he wasn’t involved.

Another document showed that Samneang had made an arrest of a truck driver hauling 90 pieces of banned luxury rosewood.

Hang Thol, his former commander in the Military Police, said Samneang was defaming him and officers under his command.

“This case is not only defamation but also inciting by disinformation. We detained him temporarily to question him as to why he’s always posting live videos on Facebook and whether he knows what he did affected others,” Thol said.

“When we listen to the video, it sounds so bad. But the people who are working very hard lose credibility because of this."

“It’s also unfair to me as a leader. He’s calling for justice like this … I am also calling for justice. Take this ‘drug case’. So, where is this big 172-kilogram drug bust? It’s only dried marijuana, who cares?

“They detained, handcuffed and chained up a man to extort him for money while [Samneang] hid in his house. Why he didn’t speak up then?”

“As for the rosewood case, Thol said that, after the arrest, instead of taking the confiscated wood to the unit headquarters as per standard protocol, Samneang left it at his mother’s house.

The National Military Police plans to hold a press conference on Wednesday to explain to the public the reasons for Samneang’s removal and arrest.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom’s domestic milk still cannot compete with imports

    Price competition and a lack of confidence by consumers are the main reasons the dairy market cannot compete with imports, said domestic milk producers. The large displays of imported fresh milk at the Kingdom’s supermarkets present a cumbersome obstacle for local producers, they said.

  • ‘Pesticide-laden cucumbers’ kill two, poison 150 in Banteay Meanchey

    At least two youths have died and 243 others are being treated for vomiting, diarrhoea, breathing difficulties, dizziness and muscle weakness after they ate cucumbers suspected to consist of pesticides. The incident happened on Saturday, said Banteay Meanchey provincial police chief Ath Khem. He told The

  • Three dead, 13 injured in collapse at Siem Reap pagoda

    At least three people were killed and more than 10 others injured on Monday after a dining hall under construction collapsed at Prasat Kokchak pagoda in Kokchak commune, Siem Reap province. Provincial police chief Tith Narong said Military Police, soldiers and local volunteers had successfully recovered 16

  • Forest Harmony’s $18M luxury villas break ground in Kampot

    Local and French joint-venture Forest Harmony has broken ground on its $18 million “second-home” Luxury Holiday Villas project in Kampot province. Century 21 Mekong CEO and local shareholder of the project Chrek Soknim told The Post that the project will comprise 90 villa units covering 18ha on a 97

  • China Unicom enters Cambodia

    China Unicom, the country’s largest telecoms operator, has expanded into Cambodia to build optical telecommunication pathways in the Kingdom as part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The Hong Kong-listed company officially opened its China Unicom (Cambodia) subsidiary on Monday to become the

  • PP-SHV Expressway on track for completion in early 2023

    The construction of the $1.9 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway, which broke ground at the end of March, is on track to be completed by early 2023, Ministry of Public Works and Transport spokesman Vasim Sorya said on Monday. The 190km high-speed highway linking the capital to the