Four men claiming to work as “journalists” face extortion charges in Ratanakkiri province after Military Police officers allegedly caught them soliciting bribes from a driver hauling timber for pepper trellises and the timber’s owner.
National Military Police spokesman Eng Hy said the four suspects are currently undergoing interrogation.
Ratanakkiri Provincial Military Police Commander Kem Raksmey said one suspect, named Yun Tith, had no documents identifying him as an employee of a news organisation.
“[Yun Tith] claimed he is on a mission to collect the news in all provinces, but did not show a press card or any documents identifying a press organisation,” said Raksmey. Raksmey did not elaborate on the employment status of Tith’s companions.
According to Raksmey, Military Police officials arrested the four as they allegedly attempted to shake the driver down in a café located in Tes Anglong village on Wednesday evening.
At the time of their arrest, said Raksmey, the suspects had just finished demanding the driver and the timber’s owner pay $600 up front and a monthly $500 fee in exchange for not publicly accusing them of illegal timber trading.
Raksmey said authorities will send the case to the provincial court, adding that the two victims filed a complaint against the suspects, who will be charged with extortion.