The commander of Phnom Penh’s Municipal Military Police has been demoted due to his alleged mismanagement of what amounted to an Election Day riot in front of the Stung Meanchey pagoda polling station.
Brigadier General Ya Kim Y, who led the capital’s military police department and holds a deputy commander position at the national level, was removed from his position on Monday, according to a senior military police official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Kim Y will be replaced by Lieutenant General Vong Pisen, the department’s chief of staff in Phnom Penh and a deputy chief in the National Military Police, the official said.
“He made a serious mistake, because he could not prevent a riot that happened in front of an election poll in Stung Meanchey commune on Sunday,” the official told the Post yesterday. “Two military police vehicles were destroyed by protesters.”
Unrest caused by accusations of voter fraud at the polling station culminated in the surrounding and trapping of a polling station director inside a pagoda and the burning of two military police vehicles on Sunday, as tensions boiled over.
Police closed the Stung Meanchey Bridge to traffic as rioters threw volleys of rocks before destroying the vehicles.
Brigadier General Kheng Tito, a spokesman for the National Military Police, yesterday said he had no knowledge of Kim Y’s removal, but that military police are actively seeking the arrests of 10 people, including a Buddhist monk, who were allegedly caught on video participating in the riot.
“We expect that our police will arrest them soon,” Tito said.
Buddhist monks living at the Stung Meanchey pagoda gathered yesterday for a meeting called by the pagoda chief – which was attended by Khem Sorn, the chief monk of Phnom Penh municipality – to strengthen the Buddhist monks’ discipline and regulation in pagoda. The meeting was cancelled by monks who said onlookers and journalists crowded the pagoda.