Former anti-drug czar Moek Dara has been stripped of his three-star lieutenant general ranking by a royal decree signed by King Norodom Sihamoni.
The royal decree, a copy of which was released today, was signed by King Norodom Sihamoni on February 21 and took effect after Prime Minister Hun Sen’s approval.
Moek Dara, the former secretary general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, was charged in January for dealing drugs and taking bribes.
Om Yentieng, head of the Anticorruption Unit, said Moek Dara and his accomplices had used the anti-drug department “as a network for selling drugs”.
Nuth Sa An, secretary of state at the Ministry of Interior, said the ministry removed the ranking of Moek Dara’s accomplice Chea Leang, former chief of the ministry’s anti-drug office.
He said the court system was still investigating both men’s cases.
“If the court finds [Moek Dara] guilty, he will not be able to return to [his position],” said Nuth Sa An.
“His arrest is a warning for others not to follow him.”
Keo Remy, spokesman for the ACU, could not be reached today for details on the investigation.
Chan Soveth, an investigating officer with rights group Adhoc, welcomed the removal of Moek Dara’s ranking, but felt further investigations could implicate more people.
“Arresting only Moek Dara and three other officials is not enough,” he said.
“I believe more officials are involved in this case.”
Police have said the arrest of former Banteay Meanchey provincial police chief Hun Hean and his deputy, Chheang Sun, led them to Moek Dara and Chea Leang.