Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Police to crack down on fraudulent NGOs

Police to crack down on fraudulent NGOs

Police to crack down on fraudulent NGOs

THE police chief in Kratie province has instructed local authorities to watch for sham NGOs set up to extort money from villagers, following a raid earlier this week in which, he said, six such NGOs were shut down.

Chuong Seang Hak said yesterday that police on Monday raided six NGOs that were ostensibly combating forest crimes.

At all six, he said, workers dressed up in fake police or Forestry Administration uniforms and levied fines against people seen entering or exiting protected forest, regardless of what they were doing. He said that in most cases the workers had paid US$100 for their posts, and had been permitted to keep a portion of each fine.

“We stopped the work of those NGOs so that they can apply for licences with the government and inform authorities of their work,” Chuong Seang Hak said. “They cannot extort money from the villagers.”

Mom Sok Kin, a representative of villagers in Snuol district’s Ksim commune, said the NGO workers had been administering fines of between 5,000 and 20,000 riels (US$2.35), and that villagers had welcomed Monday’s crackdown.

“They were not legal NGOs,” he said. “They claimed that they were working with the government to curb illegal logging or wildlife crimes, but actually they were asking for money when villagers passed through their illegal checkpoints.”

Iv Saphum, the governor of Snuol district, said three of the NGOs targeted on Monday had been in his district. He said they had been established in the early months of this year, and that authorities had been made aware of them after receiving a steady stream of complaints.

“We decided to stop them because hundreds of people were confused about why these fake officials had been extorting their money,” he said.

Thim Narin, a provincial coordinator for the rights group Adhoc, said there were about 14 registered NGOs operating in the province. She expressed concern that the damage caused by the fake NGOs could detract from the work of legitimate ones.

“Their illegal activities have affected the other good NGOs that work for the people,” she said.

Chuong Seang Hak, the provincial police chief, said two of the NGOs shut down on Monday had been registered with the Interior Ministry, and that there was a good chance they would be allowed to resume operations.

MOST VIEWED

  • Chinese influx pushing locals, Westerners out of Preah Sihanouk

    Some within the Kingdom’s tourism industry have speculated that the recent influx of Chinese visitors may hinder domestic tourism as the price of accommodations in the coastal city of Sihanoukville continues to rise. Preah Sihanouk province, which has become a hotbed for Chinese investment

  • ‘Dire consequences’ from sanctions, warns AmCham

    American businesspeople in Cambodia have warned that any sanction against the Kingdom would have “dire consequences” that could push Cambodia even further into the arms of China. In a letter to US senators and representatives dated Monday, the American Chamber of Commerce Cambodia (AmCham) said

  • CPP: ‘Behave or Sokha suffers’

    The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman warned Kem Monovithya on Thursday that her attempt to damage “national reputation and prestige” would lead to her father, Kem Sokha, receiving even harsher punishment. Sok Eysan issued the warning as Monovithya, who is the court dissolved

  • Preah Sihanouk beach developments halted

    After receiving an order from Hun Sen, Minister of Land Management Chea Sophara led a team of experts and relevant officials to Sihanoukville to call a halt to the illegal development of a beach. The prime minister ordered the Prek Treng beach in Otres commune