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Police chief warns on use of his name

Police chief warns on use of his name

PHNOM Penh Police Chief Touch Naruth has warned those who run afoul of the law to stop invoking his name in hopes of escaping punishment under the law.

In a letter dated Sunday, Touch Naruth said he plans to take legal action against anyone who claims to be his relative in order to circumvent the law. It comes after three recent cases emerged in which suspects claimed to have been related to the powerful police chief.

“I won’t pardon any criminal because I am the person who enforces the law,” Touch Naruth wrote in the letter.

“If I don’t abide by the law, who will? If my nephews commit crime, they must be punished, too.”

Recent incidents in which suspects have claimed to be the police chief’s relatives have weakened his reputation, Touch Naruth said.

“The three suspects are not my relatives, and I have never known them before,” he said. “They just defame me.”

In one instance, a 29-year-old woman who was in a car that slammed into a road divider at a traffic intersection told police she was Touch Naruth’s niece. She was sent to court late last month.

On August 3, three policemen also invoked the police chief’s name after one of them allegedly brandished his gun when employees at a Chamkarmon district massage parlour refused to serve them.

And last Thursday, a reporter with Kampuchea Thmey newspaper who was arrested after three teens on a motorbike crashed into his car, said the trio masqueraded as Touch Naruth’s nephews in order to avoid any legal repercussions. Police are looking for the three suspects.

Without fear or favour
Pen Khun, the municipality’s deputy traffic police chief, said there have been no recent accidents caused by suspects who claim to be related to rich and powerful people, but said that such claims would deter officers from carrying out their duties.

“If such a case occurs, we will enforce the law without any fear,” he said.

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