In response to claims by Sreng Chanthy on Facebook news site Pheng Vannak News, the National Police’s anti-drug department has denied claims that its officials and a deputy prosecutor are involved in extortion.
Chanthy was initially arrested in connection with a drugs bust involving Seng Da, a Cambodian woman who claimed he sold her 39.21g of methamphetamine. He was released a day later when he took to Facebook to make the allegations against the department.
Since the allegation, the anti-drug department has released a letter of clarification stating that “the arrest of Sreng Chanthy by anti-drug police on February 13, was not an error of arrest”.
“After questioning, Sreng Chanthy did not confess to the crime which Seng Da had accused him of. Therefore, after examination and approval from the deputy prosecutor, the anti-drug department permitted him [Chanthy] to go back home temporarily.”
The letter said the case began with the Seng Da confession, which was the reasoning for police officials, led by the deputy prosecutor, to arrest Chanthy.
Pheng Vannak News said that on February 15, Chanthy recounted that as he was driving home from work, police in civilian uniform blocked his way and proceeded to arrest him.
He alleged that he was brought to the anti-drug department, where he was detained for a night on Thursday and was the subject of extortion.
“The police and prosecutor claimed that they had already tracked my movements and encouraged me to confess or I would be sent to court. The checks that they carried out did not find any evidence, but they asked me how much I could afford to pay.
“My wife offered $200, but they did not respond,” said Chanthy. He claimed they wanted between $200 and $5,000 for him not to be sent to court.
Pheng Vannak News claimed that Chanthy’s release occurred after it made a phone call to Lek Vannak, the director of the anti-drug department, telling him to direct his officials to work following the law.
Deputy National Police chief Mok Chito, who is also deputy secretary-general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD), denied the attempt to extort $5,000 for Chanthy’s release, saying that the accusations are untrue.
“They have made the accusation, however now it has been clarified,” he said.
Lek Vannak could not be reached for comment.