Two Kampong Cham police officers have been suspended from their work after taking photos of three other policemen sleeping during a celebration commemorating the 11th annual Cambodian Veterans Day at Koh Pich City Hall on Monday, that was chaired by Prime Minister Hun Sen.
The photos later found their way onto social media and went viral, drawing criticism from the public.
On Monday, Chamkar Loeu district’s police chief, Kheng Sreng, said it was coincidence that he saw his old friends sleeping and took the pictures. However, the pictures were taken before the prime minister had arrived at the event.
“When I looked at them sleeping, I took pictures and sent them to my friend . . . and he shared it with the provincial anti-narcotics bureau in a WhatsApp group.
“I love my friends very much and took their picture in order to make fun of them . . . I do not know who shared the picture on the Facebook,” Sreng said.
He also said the photos going viral on social media was unintentional and that he accepted the suspension.
“I do not know yet if I still have my job or the kind of punishment I will receive in the end. If I am transferred to administrative work, I won’t mind, but if I am fired, I will regret it for the rest of my life because I have worked about 31 years trying to help people,” Sreng said.
Sreng clarified that five police officers are serving punishment – himself for taking the photograph, the three who were caught sleeping and the one who shared it on social media.
Kampong Cham Provincial Police Chief Em Kosal’s instruction letter, dated June 5, said Major Chiv Seng Ros, the Kampong Cham deputy chief of the anti-narcotics bureau, will assume the position of acting Kampong Cham provincial chief of the drugs bureau, replacing Colonel Em Seang Dy, who is serving a suspension for reportedly sharing the photos on social media.
In a separate instruction letter signed by Kosal, Major Yu Pirun, Chamkar Loeu district deputy chief, who is in charge of judicial affairs, will assume the role of acting Chamkar Loeu district police chief, replacing Sreng.
Another officer who shared the picture on WhatsApp to the provincial drugs bureau group, and who has not been identified, has allegedly gone unpunished for his role in the incident.