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Social Affairs staffers held for extortion

Social Affairs ministry officials are taken for questioning after their arrest.
Social Affairs ministry officials are taken for questioning after their arrest. Facebook

Social Affairs staffers held for extortion

Two contractors from the Department of Social Affairs in Phnom Penh were arrested and charged yesterday for allegedly extorting beggars and indigent people.

According to the Phnom Penh Gendarmerie, two staffers – 55-year-old Khout Neum and 42-year-old Heng Sarom – were charged with extortion with aggravating circumstances and inciting a minor to beg.

In a statement, the gendarmerie said Neum and Sarom collected 10,000 to 20,000 riel, or $2.50 to $5, from each beggar per day. If the beggars refused, Sith would threaten to report them to the Social Affairs Department, according to the gendarmerie.

The gendarmerie said Neum and Sarom also tipped off the beggars about crackdowns in exchange for money.

Rath Srieng, chief of the Military Police in Phnom Penh, declined to give further comment, as did Deputy Director of the Department of Social Affairs Mom Chandany. Y Rin, chief of the municipal court, said investigative judges are working on the case but did not give details.

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