Kampong Speu provincial police are investigating a situation where a driver who was driving without a driver’s licence in his possession was fined $200 by traffic police on National Road 4 on January 17.
Ten traffic police officers were temporarily suspended and the vehicle owner who was fined was called in for questioning.
Kampong Speu provincial police Chief Sam Samuon told The Post that expert officials are investigating the case by questioning both parties to find out the truth of what happened. He said he would later provide further clarification on the Facebook page of the province’s police regarding the incident.
“There is no update yet. We are asking both sides. If there is anything new we will update the provincial police page. In this case, we have not made any comments yet, but we have to wait for the results of the investigation to find out what took place,” he said.
According to a post on Kampong Speu provincial police Facebook page on January 17, a Facebook account under the name of Kongkea Lomor Mongkul wrote on January 16: “Please all drivers on National Road 4 stay alert. The traffic police officers are very cruel as we had to rush to pay a fine of $200 by transferring it to their account, but they then cheated us and refused to issue a receipt for it.
“The police officer’s ABA account name is Khem Sothearith. He also grabbed my phone and deleted the pictures after I took some pictures of what was going on to send to my wife to let her know that I was stopped by the police,” the Facebook user wrote.
After the post, the Kampong Speu provincial police checked with the bank regarding the receiving account and the bank confirmed that it was under an account name that actually belongs to Khem Sothearith, the chief of the road traffic police office in Kampong Speu.
Police reports issued by the traffic police claim that mini-truck driver Ny Vanheng, 22, was driving without a licence and transporting bulky goods, both violations of the law.
“The above offenses have to be penalized with a fine of 1,200,000 riel for driving without licence and an additional fine of 150,000 riel for the offense of bulky transportation. At that time, the owner asked for a compromise amount and offered $200, but asked for an ABA number so that he could transfer the fine because he did not have any cash. After transferring $200, he continued with his travel,” the report said.
Deputy provincial police chief Nhem Sao said on January 17 that the provincial police will continue to conduct its investigation and has already taken action by temporarily suspending all 10 traffic police officers in accordance with rules and regulations of the National Police.
The deputy chief said the operational mission on National Road 4 was led by Chun Sam Ath, Deputy Chief of the Kampong Speu provincial road traffic Bureau. There were 12 officers at this target, but two were absent due to requests for leave, so 10 of them were present during the January 14 operation.
“All 10 officers were suspended by the commissioner and kept at the staff office to monitor the enforcement of the law, and their roles and responsibilities, as well as to check the discipline of the National Police. If there is any result, action will be taken by asking for principles from the management,” he said.
Sao said that on the morning of January 17, he had already contacted the owner of the Facebook account Kongkea Lomor Mongkul to come to the police station to inquire about the circumstances.
“I also wanted to explain to him the laws related to driving violations, driver’s licences and overloaded transport, and I wanted him to understand that it was negligence by the traffic police to use the legal mechanisms incorrectly in fining him, though not necessarily corruption, but that is to be determined,” he said.