Phnom Penh Municipal Police chief Sar Thet has suspended Meanchey district police officer Lieutenant Sim Bunthoeun, who on Tuesday “fined” a motorcyclist without issuing him a receipt after a video clip of the incident was posted on social media.
Thet signed the letter ordering the suspension of the police officer on Tuesday.
It said that Bunthoeun had been suspended from his post as Meanchey district police defence and intervention deputy chief for incorrectly fining a member of the public without issuing a receipt near Stung Meanchey market in the capital’s Meanchey district.
“He is to appear in front of the staff office during working hours in order to acknowledge his mistake and wait for a renewed decision,” the letter said.
Thet told The Post on Wednesday that the official had been temporarily suspended, pending any new decision allowing him to correct his mistake in the future.
Police officers stationed at other locations will be subject to the same penalties if they are found to have committed illegal acts or broken the regulations of the senior leadership, Thet said.
“First and foremost, we have to follow the correct procedures. The police have initially suspended him and he will continue to be monitored. If he makes more serious mistakes, then he will be punished more harshly or demoted."
“We are warning all police officers stationed at various posts to always abide by the law,” Thet said.
Affiliated Network for Social Accountability executive director San Chey said he supported strict enforcement of the law and urged transparency because, he said, in the past many police officers have “fined” offending motorists without issuing receipts.
“We all see police officers stopping law-breaking car drivers and motorbike riders and fining them. Some issue receipts but some others don’t. And they lift motorbikes onto their trucks to take them to police stations and wait to receive money."
“In this case, I think it’s not much of a warning because this sort of things happens time and time again and only one or two cases have been addressed,” he said.
A video clip was posted on social media on Tuesday showing the traffic policeman “fining” the driver.
In the video, the police officer is seen negotiating with the person who broke the law as to how much money should be paid.
Bunthoeun was seen accepting the fine and putting the money into his bag apparently without issuing a receipt.