Two men were arrested on Friday accused of stealing $2 million from a company after their employer sent them to withdraw the cash in Phnom Penh.
Phnom Penh municipal police chief Sar Thet said on Sunday that the suspects were 37 years old and one was a military lieutenant serving in the Bodyguard Department.
Thet said the authorities were searching for more people who they suspect were involved but declined to provide further details while the investigation was ongoing.
National Police spokesperson Chhay Kim Khoeun said the Ministry of Interior’s police forces had collaborated with Sen Sok district police to arrest the men.
“They were involved in stealing money from a company. Their employer allowed a driver to withdraw the cash and the driver ran away with the money.
“We arrested one in Svay Rieng province and he said he’s a Bodyguard Department officer holding the rank of lieutenant. We’ve sent them to the Phnom Penh municipal police headquarters for further procedures. When the driver was arrested, he confessed that he was involved,” he said.
Kim Khoeun said the driver was arrested on Friday in Sen Sok district’s Phnom Penh Thmey commune after the Ministry of Interior received a complaint from the victim.
He said during the arrest, the police found $250,000 in 25 wads of notes hidden in his house.
A Kimber pistol, a walkie-talkie radio and a department uniform were also seized, a local media outlet reported.
In a separate incident, three policemen were arrested in Kampong Speu province on Thursday for allegedly attempting to release eight of 18 Chinese nationals who had been detained accused of illegal online gambling.
The policemen were sent to Phnom Penh Municipal Court by National Police on Sunday.
Y Sok Khy, director of the National Police’s Anti-Terrorism and Transnational Crime Department, said on Sunday that the suspects were two officers from the General Department of Identification and one from the General Department of Immigration.
However, he declined to comment further and referred questions to National Police spokesman Kim Khoeun.
A senior officer who asked not to be identified said the Ministry of Interior and the National Police would take strict action against government officials who violated the law or intimidated other officials.
General Department of Identification director-general Korng Sokhorn said his department was working with the National Police to address the case.
He said he could not reveal the names and ranks of the two General Department of Identification officers who were allegedly involved because the case was still being investigated.
“[The National Police] are investigating it. Let them finalise the investigation first. As long as they did wrong, the law requires us to take action. The police follow the law,” he said.
Kampong Speu provincial governor Vei Samnang said on Sunday that after the 18 Chinese suspects were arrested, the police officers were also detained because they helped to free them.
“We want to find the person behind this intervention. Who is actually behind this and who used $40,000 as a bribe. I want to know the person who bribed in exchange for their release and who has caused so much trouble in our country. It’s time to discover the corrupt officials.
“People think our officials can be corrupted. They assumed that they can bribe the authorities to have people released,” he said, adding that they had attempted to release eight of the Chinese nationals.