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

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a

  • Cambodia ready to exit LDC status

    Cambodia is well-prepared to minimise economic risks when it graduates from its Least Developed Countries status, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Commerce on May 7. Four LDCs – Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh and Nepal – met at a virtual workshop last week to explore potential

  • Nine US franchises eye Cambodia debut

    Nine famous US franchising companies are looking for business opportunities and expansion into Cambodia to build a footstep for a strong foundation in Southeast Asia. The US embassy in Phnom Penh, in partnership with the US Foreign Commercial Service and with support from the American

  • Lost in translation: ‘Starvation’ in capital’s designated red zones

    “DACH bay” is a Khmer slang meaning a “loss of income”, that could also be literally translated to «deprived of rice”, which alludes to starvation. However, civil society organisation (CSO) officials have independently confirmed the government’s prior assertions that there are no cases of