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Police Viewed as Most Corrupt: Survey

Cambodians view the police and judiciary as more corrupt than other government and non-government agencies, according to a survey released Wednesday.

In its annual corruption survey, Transparency International said more than half of Cambodian interactions with police and registry and permit services in 2007 resulted in bribes paid.

In four out of ten contacts with police or such services, bribes were requested, the group said.

Transparency International, via market research group TNS, surveyed 1,016 Cambodian adults in face-to-face interviews in five cities and provinces: Battambang, Kampong Cham, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville.

"Corruption is considered a serious problem by the Cambodians," a Transparency International statement said. "Four in ten respondents believe that the level of corruption will rise in the coming years. The fear is strongest in rural and remote areas and among low income groups."

"I would like to completely deny corruption in the police and judicial institutions," said Lt. Gen. Khieu Sopheak, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior. "But we recognize there are corrupt individuals in those institutions, and we have punished corrupt individuals with both administrative and legal measures."

Cambodia loses an estimated $500 million per year to its national budget due to corruption, but the government has yet to pass a much-awaited anti-corruption law.