Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Publisher cries foul over extortion charge



Publisher cries foul over extortion charge

Publisher cries foul over extortion charge

MALAYSIAN newspaper publisher T Mohan has denied any connection to an alleged attempt

to extort $5000 from Phnom Penh's Naga Casino, which culminated in a threatened grenade

attack against the facility, calling his arrest on September 7 and three-day detention

at Phnom Penh's PJ prison "a mistake".

Mohan, the publisher of the sporadic English-language newsletter The Vision and personal

assistant to Funcinpec Ministry of Economy and Finance Secretary of State Kong Vibol,

told the Post that his arrest was linked to his alleged contact over the past year

with representatives of a shadowy anti-government organization called the Khmer Serei

(Free Khmer).

Those contacts have resulted in a series of Vision articles - widely dismissed by

Western diplomatic sources - documenting a Khmer Serei insurgency movement in the

provinces of Kratie and Strung Treng.

Some observers suggested the Khmer Serei was a government ruse to flush out opposition.

"The police accused me repeatedly of three things - that I was the president

of the Khmer Serei, that I was a member of the Khmer Serei, and [that] I sent the

[threatening] email to the Naga [Casino]," he said.

In an interview on September 11 with the Post, Mohan claimed that a pair of cryptic

phone and email messages he received from an alleged Khmer Serei source identified

only as "Huot" led him to meet with Naga Casino employee Song Meng Kong

on the evening of September 6.

"Never did I ask for money or ask to be an intermediary [in an extortion attempt],"

Mohan said. " Contrary to blackmail, I tried to assist them with regard to threats

against them."

Mohan dismissed suggestions that he would attempt to extort money from Ariston Corporation,

which owns the Naga Casino.

"I've been with Naga since 1993," he said in reference to his management

of the ill-fated Ariston-funded English language newspaper Cambodia Times between

1993-1995. "I know how wide [Ariston's] web is - why should I mess with them?"

Instead, Mohan says he has been victimized by both his arrest and alleged death threats

against himself and his family.

"In this case I'm also a victim because I have received two bullets and an email

in which my kids were threatened," he said.

Mohan refused to provide substantive comment on who he believed was behind the extortion

attempt and the threats against him, preferring instead to voice his "disappointment"

about the conduct of Phnom Penh police in his case.

"My only wish is that the police would [have been] more professional and more

discreet," he said of his arrest on September 7. "We could have met in

a coffee shop ... [Instead] the whole block knew I was arrested."

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from