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Senior cop slams courts

Senior cop slams courts

A senior Phnom Penh police officer has hit out at the inappropriate release of

offenders by the judicial system.

"The more robbers we catch, the more

they are released from jail," said the officer, who spoke on the condition he

was not named.

The policeman cited the arrest of five men for last

November's $700,000 robbery from a bank van transporting money to Pochentong

Airport. They were recently released from custody, he said, for reasons he was

unable to understand.

"They were detained for only five months. In fact,

they should have been jailed for at least three years," he said, describing the

men as "hard-line" criminals. "There will be more robberies in the future if the

courts are so loose."

The policeman acknowledged that there was

corruption within the courts and the police force.

"Both the police and

the courts try to make profits," he said. "Some policemen release thieves in

return for money."

Phnom Penh Municipal Court president Judge Oum Sarith,

asked about the officer's complaints, referred the Post to one of his

prosecutors. The prosecutor, however, refused to comment unless he was told the

name of the policeman.

"He's talking bad about the judges, but he refuses

to identify himself. We can't give you the interview," the prosecutor

said.

The head of the Phnom Penh Municipal Criminal Investigations Unit

was, who was in the prosecutor's office when the Post visited, also insisted he

be told the policeman's name. "Who is that guy?" he asked in a low

voice.

The policeman who spoke to the Post also complained that police

had to do their job in dangerous conditions without adequate equipment. He said

laws against the use of guns were strict, but were not enforced properly. "Now,

weapons are scattered around...and guns are sold everywhere."

Germany had

donated 30 bullet proof jackets to Phnom Penh police, and France was funding

training for them, but there was a dearth of other law-enforcement equipment

such as computers to keep criminal records on.

"Police in Cambodia use

only their eyes, ears and noses," he said.

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