Cambodian Journalists Alliance Association

District Police Chief Demoted After Removal of Commune Police Chief With Criminal Record

The Stong District Police Station in Kampong Thom province. The district police chief was removed from his role after a relative of his with a criminal record was appointed as a commune chief in his district.
The Stong District Police Station in Kampong Thom province. The district police chief was removed from his role after a relative of his with a criminal record was appointed as a commune chief in his district.

A district police chief in Kampong Thom province was removed from his position after a commune police chief in his district was demoted for previously serving prison time for theft. A police official told CamboJA that the two police chiefs were relatives. 

The former Stong District Police Chief Yang Sam will now serve in the personnel office of the Kampong Thom Provincial Police, according to police. The Samprorch Commune Police Chief Hong Sarom began his appointment at the beginning of the month but was demoted on Monday for a “violation of discipline” after the National Police concluded that he had a criminal record. Sarom will remain a police officer. 

Chim Ryna, Stong District’s Acting Police Chief, confirmed with CamboJA that Sam was removed from his role because it was found out that he is a relative of Sarom. Ryna said he did not know about the specific details of the case and would not provide further information. 

“I only know that he [Sarom] came from elsewhere and came to work under the boss Sam. He came in 2009,” he said.

Somprorch Commune Chief Peanh Poul told CamboJA on Monday that Sarom was working as a police officer when he was arrested in 2015, but became a police officer again, “in the last few years,” after serving a prison sentence. 

Kampong Thom Provincial Police Chief Men Ly could not be reached for comment.

Prime Minister Hun Manet publicly called for an investigation into the appointment of Sarom on Sunday, after receiving information about Sarom’s criminal history from “various sources, including social media.”

“I would like to ask for a thorough examination and evaluation of the personality of each individual before making appointments in state institutions, both in civilian roles and armed forces, both nationally and sub-nationally,” he wrote on Facebook. 

While the two men were removed from their police chief positions just days after the prime minister’s statement, they both will continue to serve as police officers. 

When asked about the possible corruption involving family connections at play in this case, the NGO Licadho’s Operations Director Am Sam Ath said: “For this case we ask for a clear investigation so as not to be a bad example in the future.”

“It is necessary to look at the background activities [of appointees] clearly,” he added. “Otherwise it will cause problems for the reputation of the National Police or the appointment and will affect a lot of good officials who work hard to serve the people.”

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