Prey Veng Drug Cops Suspended After Detained Men’s Allegations

Phnom Penh: The National Police Commissioner General, decided to discipline 7 members of the National Police Force of Prey Veng Provincial Police Commission who violated the discipline and professionalism of the National Police Force by suspending them from their duties.

The order No. 490, dated July 27, 2020 of the General Commission of the National Police said the decision to discipline the National Police officers of the Prey Veng Provincial Police, following complaints that on July 20, at 20:30, the specialized force of Prey Veng Provincial Police arrested 2 men named Hoeun Rath,and Thai Samad, both 26, from Prey Veng city, led by Lieutenant Colonel Touch Theara, Deputy Director of the Prey Veng Provincial Anti-Drug Bureau.

It was then claimed that officers contacted the parents of the two young men to pay 2 million riel each in exchange for their release, accusing them of both using drugs and not cooperating with the authorities. 

The men allege that when they were arrested, they were taken to the drug office, where they were tortured, kicked and beaten, causing serious injuries.  The next day, on the 21st, Lt. Col. Touch Theara ordered the parents of the victims to bring 2,000,000 Riels each to release the men, equal to 4 million Riels.

After receiving the money, the police made a note to release them back home. Due to the serious injuries, both of them have been treated for and needed treatment costing nearly $ 1,000 on the evening of the 23rd.

At the same time Prey Veng Provincial Referral Hospital issued a letter confirming that they had no traces of drugs in their bodies. 

On the 23rd of July, the families of the victims went to file a complaint at the Sangkat Cheung Teuk administrative post, but the officials did not accept the complaint, referring them to the court.

Later police admitted they had actually pulled out a gun and hit the victim on the head, because they refused to surrender to the authorities. 

As the claims that the men were tortured at the provincial drug office, Lieutenant Colonel Touch Theara said that was an interrogation, and did do not know who hit whom, as his subordinates are angry with both of the men for the non-cooperation. 

Regarding taking 4,000,000 Riel in exchange for releasing the victim, Lieutenant Colonel Touch Theara confirmed that he really took the money, but gave it to Prey Veng provincial prosecutors in exchange for their release. The Prosecutor of Prey Veng Provincial Court on the evening of July 23, denied any knowledge of the incident.

On the afternoon of 26 July 2020, General Prum Thor, commissioner of Provincial Police Security and representative of His Excellency General Dr. Neth Savoeun, National Chief of Police, went personally to apologize and returned money to the families. AREY/SWIFT

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