The National Gendarmerie have rejected media reports that accused Stung Treng provincial Military Police deputy commander Colonel Duong Vichet of extorting $2,500 from an “illegal” dirt truck owner in exchange for its release.
The denial came after some local media reports alleged that Col Vichet had been sued for extorting money from the unidentified truck owner in violation of the prosecutor’s order.
In clarifying the case, National Gendarmerie spokesman Eng Hy issued a May 18 press release saying that an investigation ordered by Commander Sao Sokha, who is also Deputy Commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, proved otherwise.
“The investigation found that Col Vichet did not commit any offence or contradict Military Police discipline as reported by some media outlets,” said the press statement.
Citing the truck owner, it said Vichet had not exported money from him as reported, adding that the Gendarmerie was looking forwards to information or evidence proving the colonel’s guilt.
Hy asked the media to issue corrections, so the public would receive accurate information.
Bey Vanny, Stung Treng provincial coordinator for rights group ADHOC, said the denial was a just response by the Military Police to protect its honour and dignity.
“As a matter of law, if members of the public have such a problem, they should demand an investigation to seek justice. This will prevent further extortion – if there is a situation like the one alleged,” he said.
He added that dissemination of information was the right of the media, but in this case, it could not be taken seriously because there was no evidence found to charge the officer. Vanny encouraged people who encountered such situations to file a legal complaint.
The press release quoted Hy as saying that the Gendarmerie had collected all available information regarding the operations and ethics of the Military Police and used it to reflect and draw on experience. If it was determined that a member of the Military Police committed an offence, the offender would be reprimanded and sanctioned.
“If any member of the National Military Police commits an offence ... we will enforce the law without exception. Our motto is that we must protect the country, serve the people, obey the law, and crack down on all crimes,” the press release said.