Officials Mum On Siem Reap Police Chief’s Transfer

The police chief of Siem Reap province has been transferred without explanation to a post at the Interior Ministry after about two months on the job.

A letter signed by Interior Minister Sar Kheng on July 3, and posted online on Sunday by government-aligned Fresh News, orders Hou Vanny’s move from provincial police chief to deputy director of the ministry’s tourism department, effective immediately.

Pen Vibol, director of the ministry’s personnel department, said on Sunday that he was not authorized to discuss the reasons for the transfer and referred questions to ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak and National Police spokesman Kirth Chantharith. Neither could be reached for comment.

Deputy provincial police chief Oum Omara attributed Mr. Vanny’s transfer to a “personal issue” but declined to elaborate.

Mr. Vanny said he also was in the dark about his transfer, having learned about it only on Sunday.

“I was appointed provincial police chief almost two months ago and I have been working very hard to provide security to the people of Siem Reap province,” he said. “I am very proud to be removed from my position and transferred to the Interior Ministry. I have to respect the order of the upper level.”

Mr. Vanny said he has been a police officer since 1979 and prior to his appointment as provincial police chief he served a year as a deputy.

He was to be replaced as provincial police chief by Tith Narong, the police chief of Siem Reap City, during a handover ceremony scheduled for today.

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