Khmer Rise Party (KRP) president Sok Sovann Vathana Sabung has raised concern and plans to file a report to Prime Minster Hun Sen over the entrance of underage candidates into the National Police selection examination.

Vathana Sabung, who is also a member of the Supreme Council for Consultation, said candidates looking to join the National Police must be at least 18 years old.

However, he said he has discovered that 16 and 17-year-olds sat for the entrance examination last year.

This, he said, means the selection was illegitimate and should be investigated. He expects his concerns to be addressed and clarified by the National Police and the Ministry of Interior.

“We will explore legal means to see how many underage candidates were allowed to sit for the examination.

“If the law limits candidates to be 18 and over, and 16-year-olds sat for the examination, it means that it is illegal, and we have measures to make a report to Samdech Techo Hun Sen directly.

“I think that it is illegitimate and if it is legitimate, the Ministry of Interior should provide an explanation as to why a 16-year-old could sit for the examination to serve in the police,” he said.

Vathana Sabung said he and members of his working group discovered nearly 10 underage candidates who passed the examination.

On December 22, last year, the ministry organised the examination for the selection of officials into the National Police across the country. Positions were open in the capital and provincial police stations.

Last week, results from the ministry showed that some candidates were only 16 or 17 years old.

According to a ministry announcement on the selection process dated June 26 last year, candidates must be at least 18 years old to apply and not over the age of 25.

Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said on Monday that a committee was assigned to organise and supervise the examination.

He said any concerns over the examination must be addressed by the committee and suggested that Vathana Sabung reach out to it directly to avoid any misunderstandings.

Sopheak declined to comment on Vathana Sabung’s plans to file a report to the prime minister.

“I understand his concerns, but I don’t know about this issue because the committee organises the examination. For any questions, he should contact the committee,” Sopheak said.

Affiliated Network for Social Accountability executive director San Chey encouraged officials to investigate the case because candidates under the age of 18 have not even finished high school.

“If any qualification is contradictory to the conditions proposed by the Ministry of Interior, I think that this is something to be investigated,” he said.