Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Mondulkiri police chief transferred out month after fatal ambush



Mondulkiri police chief transferred out month after fatal ambush

National Police Chief Neth Savoeun (left) instates Lao Sokha, the former Kandal deputy provincial police chief, in his new role as provincial police chief in Mondulkiri yesterday. Photo supplied
National Police Chief Neth Savoeun (left) instates Lao Sokha, the former Kandal deputy provincial police chief, in his new role as provincial police chief in Mondulkiri yesterday. Photo supplied

Mondulkiri police chief transferred out month after fatal ambush

Mondulkiri Provincial Police Chief Ouk Samnang has been transferred to the Penal Department at the Interior Ministry of Interior a month after three forest patrollers were gunned down in an ambush near the border.

Lao Sokha, the former Kandal provincial deputy police chief, will replace Samnang, who assumed the position less than eight months ago.

Mondulkiri provincial administration spokesman Heak Sophan denied that the transfer had anything to do with the shooting in Mondulkiri’s Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary.

Six suspects, including RCAF Regiment 103 head Keut Veha and O’Rolear border post chief Phal Penh, face charges in the shooting and are suspected of shooting the patrollers after they confiscated logging equipment.

“It is normal to change civil servants,” Sophan said yesterday, noting that the former provincial police chief had been stationed in Mondulkiri for “nearly eight months”.

However, local media accounts of the appointment ceremony for Sokha reported that National Police Chief Neth Savoeun scolded authorities for their handling of the shooting as well as the deadly fire that ripped through Sen Monorom market two weeks later.

National Police spokesman Kirth Chantharith declined to answer questions about the new appointments besides saying, “Change was needed.” Samnang becomes deputy head of the penal department.

Political analyst Meas Nee said that the government’s practice of reshuffling underperforming officials is often a way to shield them from public accountability.

“This is not so strange if you look at the culture of the party,” Nee said. “This is the way they keep people loyal to the party.”

Several high-ranking administrators and law enforcement officials in Mondulkiri have been implicated in illegal logging operations over the years. Last year, a National Police investigation found that more than a dozen police, military police and army officials had colluded with Vietnamese timber traders, and while some were reportedly transferred to other jurisdictions, no officials were ever prosecuted.

Additional reporting by Daphne Chen

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia to make auto-rickshaws

    Locally-assembled electric auto-rickshaws could hit the Cambodian market as soon as early in May after the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) gave the greenlight to an investment project at the weekend. According to a CDC press release, it will issue a final registration