The appointment of Long Dara Vichhay as commander of the Phnom Penh special intervention unit prompted 85 police officers to sign a letter objecting to the selection.

The June 27 letter was thumb-printed by the 85 and sent to Phnom Penh municipal police chief Sar Thet. It was recently leaked.

The officers said they were disappointed to hear Dara Vichhay, the deputy head of the Office of Intervention and Sheriff, was appointed to take the place of Prum Channa the deputy police chief and former head of the unit.

The letter stated that Prum Channa and Dara Vichhay are one and the same.

Channa is a commander who has no kindness, compassion, joy or equanimity as a leader. He liked to throw insults and embezzle funds of his subordinates.

He is a leader who doesn’t care for the difficulties of subordinate officials. He gambles and plays cards every day.

“We are deeply dissatisfied with this commander. Recently, it transpires that the senior leadership replaced Channa. We were very happy as there would be a good commander with leadership attributes, love and understanding of the pains of subordinate officials.

“But our hope turned out to be a deep disappointment,” the letter said.

Thet told The Post on Wednesday that Dara Vichhay’s appointment is only temporary, and that another official is taking over as commander. He declined to reveal the new commander’s identity.

“Eighty-five officers are not happy, and we investigated the matter. We are addressing the measures for them to be happy,” he said.

Thet declined to comment on the allegations against Channa and Dara Vichhay.

National Police spokesman Chhay Kim Khoeun said the letter was submitted to the Phnom Penh municipal police station and referred questions to this station.

Democratic Institute of Cambodia director Pa Chanroeun urged independent investigators to look into what the special intervention unit officers mentioned regarding irregularities in the appointment of the new commander.

“The appointment or promotion of police officials should be conducted as defined by law.

“Hopefully, learned, skilled, experienced and morally upright individuals will be selected to ensure the carrying out of work is effective and morally right for the sake of the unit and society,” he said.