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In Survey, Many Cambodians Report Corrupt Public Officials

  • Heng Reaksmey
  • VOA Khmer

Social activists carry an anti-corruption banner during a rally in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Social activists carry an anti-corruption banner during a rally in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

PHNOM PENH - Cambodia’s endemic corruption is most apparent in the institutions of the judiciary, the police, public officials and political parties, Transparency International has found.

Soeung Saroeun, a board member at Transparency International Cambodia, said that in a recent survey, the group found that the institutions that are supposed to protect people are those most often seen by the public as abusing their power.

In its annual Global Corruption Barometer, released Tuesday, the US-based watchdog said 65 percent of Cambodians surveyed had paid a bribe to judicial authorities or police; 62 percent to registry officials; 57 percent for land services; 38 percent for medical services; and 30 percent to education officials.

Preap Kol, executive director of Transparency International Cambodia, said the survey numbers followed anecdotal evidence on the ground, where more and more Cambodians are willing to thumbprint petitions, join peaceful demonstrations or collaborate with anti-corruption groups and organizations.

As the election nears, the question of corruption has become one of the top issues among the parties. All parties, one way or another, say they want to curb or end Cambodia’s corruption problem.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan dismissed the survey’s findings, saying that Transparency International appeared to want to attack the government ahead of the election. He pointed to the passing of a recent anti-corruption law and arrests of some government officials as evidence the government is fighting corruption.

Yim Sovann, a spokesman for the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, said the best way to fight corruption is to end the administration of Prime Minister Hun Sen and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.