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Leadership shake-up at GDP post-jailbreak

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Interior minister Sar Kheng speaks with members of the Samdech Techo Foundation Association earlier this month. INTERIOR MINISTRY

Leadership shake-up at GDP post-jailbreak

Five officials from the Stung Treng Provincial Prison, including its chief and two deputies, have been transferred to new positions within the General Department of Prisons (GDP) following an incident in which seven inmates involving in drug trafficking committed a jailbreak. Replacements are expected to be announced on February 17.

According to a prakas issued on February 8 and seen by The Post on February 16, Minister of interior Sar Kheng ordered the transfer of provincial prison chief Chhun Dara and his deputies Ros Sothea and Chea Socheat.

The two other officials are Pen Sam Oun, bureau chief for vocational training and career, and Leang Sam Oeun, section chief of data and documentation.

The prakas made no mention of the reason for the transfers, but said they came at the GDP’s request.

On November 8, seven male inmates escaped from the prison in Bachong village of Stung Treng town’s Preah Bat commune at about 3am. They had been sentenced to many years in prison – including their ringleader who was serving a life sentence. The seven were all recaptured.

Following the escape, Sar Kheng set up a committee to investigate how it had been allowed to happen.

GDP spokesman Nouth Savana could not be reached for comment on February 16, but said in November that the GDP had launched an investigation into the jailbreak.

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The seven prisoners who escaped from the Stung Treng Provincial Prison. POLICE

An official within the GDP told The Post on the condition of anonymity that the transfer was linked to the jailbreak.

“The transfers are not happening at the scheduled end of their appointments to those roles, but are linked to the fact that the jailbreak took place on their watch,” he said.

To ensure minimal disruption to the functioning of the prison, the GDP plans to announce their replacements on February 17 at a ceremony to be presided over by ministry secretary of state Pao Ham Phan, according to an invitation letter issued on February 11.

Two replacements are prison officials Prach Sophy, who will be appointed as prison chief, and Rithy Dina, who will become the new deputy.

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