Mao Pov – who was removed as chief of the Preah Vihear provincial police in 2012 after he drunkenly shot his firearm in the air – has now also been removed as the chief of the Tbong Khmum provincial police, a National Police spokesman said yesterday.
Pov was sacked as Preah Vihear police chief in October 2012 after drunkenly shooting his gun in the air the previous month while in a Siem Reap province hotel room – after having the month before that also been accused by a woman of beating her with a rifle.
He was appointed chief of the Tbong Khmum force in April 2014 after the province was formed out of the east of Kampong Cham, and National Police spokesman Kirth Chantharith said he will now cease in that role and move to a job at headquarters.
Chantharith would not say what role Pov would assume, but said current Kampong Cham police chief Pen Rath would take over as police chief in Tbong Khmum. Rath’s current deputy, Em Kosal, will take over as chief in Kampong Cham, he said.
“The transferring of duties is normal for the police when there is a necessity in the work, and there is a need for another person to meet the demand,” Chantharith said, denying local media reports that Pov had been a corrupt and unpopular police chief.
“It’s not like that, or that there was any shooting,” he explained. “It’s because in Tbong Khmum, Pen Rath can manage the geography and the work.” Pov was charged with illegally discharging his firearm after shooting off four rounds inside the hotel in 2012, only a week after Prime Minister Hun Sen had ordered a crackdown on officials firing guns in anger. He claimed he was afraid there was an intruder in his room.
Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said that Pov would become a deputy chief of a department at the National Police headquarters but that he could not recall which particular department, and said it was a normal progression for a police chief.
Sopheak also said he could not comment on the local media reports about Pov’s reputation while in charge of the provincial police, or accusations that he had been shooting his firearm again.
“It might be that some are right, and that some are not right,” he said.