Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Governor says cop pulled gun on him

Governor says cop pulled gun on him

Lumber that was allegedly illegally felled in Mondulkiri
Lumber that was allegedly illegally felled in Mondulkiri. PHOTO SUPPlIED

Governor says cop pulled gun on him

A district governor in Mondulkiri province filed a lawsuit yesterday against a National Military Police officer for allegedly pulling a gun on him during an operation to crack down on illegal logging.

Sin Vannvuth, the governor for Keo Seima district in Mondulkiri, said the operation, which began on Tuesday and consisted of 20 police, military police and forestry officials, was a joint effort to stop and check non-licensed vehicles for luxury wood.

At about 4am yesterday morning, after several eventless stoppages, the joint police forces intercepted a Lexus loaded with 16 pieces of timber and driven by National Military Police officer Sou Marith.

Vannvuth said Marith, who used to be in the military police at the provincial level, was so angered by the inconvenience that he stepped out of the car, pointed a gun at the district governor, got back in the car, and drove away.

“We are leading the forces and stopped his Lexus. It affects his interest, because we seized both the car and the rosewood, so he took out a gun, pointing it at me,” he said. “I never had any argument with Marith. He pointed the gun at me because we interfered with the business.”

Governor Vannvuth decided to take him to court, filing the suit at the provincial courthouse on the same day, citing Marith’s alleged disregard for the rule of law.

“I represent the people and local authorities who serve the government. Therefore, having contempt for me is like having contempt for the lower national government department, too,” he said. “I must sue him to bring him to justice.”

That might be easier said than done. Police said that after Marith drove off, they surrounded his house later in the morning and, helped by a search warrant, entered, finding 20 cubic metres of illegal luxury wood. Vannvuth suspects that Marith was planning on transporting the trove to a neighbouring country.

Marith could not be reached. The provincial military police commander Sak Sarang’s phone was turned off when a reporter tried to contact him yesterday.

Kheng Tito, the National Military Police spokesman, said he was aware of the case and confirmed that a “Sou Marith” is in the National Military Police. His officers are investigating the case.

Sou Vuthy, deputy provincial prosecutor, said they are investigating and will question Marith’s family members who live at the home where the timber was found.

MOST VIEWED

  • NY sisters inspired by Khmer heritage

    Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Cambodian-American sisters Edo and Eyen Chorm have always felt a deep affinity for their Cambodian heritage and roots. When the pair launched their own EdoEyen namesake jewellery brand in June, 2020, they leaned heavily into designs inspired by ancient Khmer

  • Cambodia records first Omicron community case

    The Ministry of Health on January 9 reported 30 new Covid-19 cases, 29 of which were imported and all were confirmed to be the Omicron variant. The ministry also reported 11 recoveries and no new deaths. Earlier on January 9, the ministry also announced that it had detected the Kingdom's

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has given the green light for anyone who contracts the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron mutation or any other variant to convalesce or receive treatment at home or in any other reasonable non-healthcare setting. The new decision supersedes a restriction on home care for

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that