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Police Arrest Two for Alleged Extortion

Cambodian authorities have arrested two men and charged them with extorting money from a foreign company, officials said Friday.

Srey Mouy Heang, 25, and Maj. Yim Neang, 37, were charged with extorting $380,000 from a foreign company. Srey Mouy Heang is the president of an environmental consulting firm, and Yim Neang is a Ministry of Interior official, authorities said.

Om Yentieng, director of Cambodia's anti-corruption unit, told reporters Friday the government had enough evidence to prove the pair extorted funds from an unnamed foreign company.

"It's more that duping, it's extortion," he said. "These two men extorted $380,000 from a foreign company. We have charged them with extortion."

The company is reportedly a Russian mining company based in Pailin, but Om Yentieng declined to reveal its name.

The two men falsely used the names of Prime Minister Hun Sen, Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng, Hun Sen's relatives, and the Ministry of the Environment to extort money, Om Yentieng said.

Opposition lawmaker Yim Sovann said it is not enough to arrest only a few people.

"I support any action to protect the Cambodian people and foreign investors," he said. "But there are many cases that affect the image of our country, such as corruption, that the government has to solve."

Cambodian Center for Human Rights official Ou Virak urged the government to conduct a proper investigation and allow the court to proceed fairly and independently.

"We must show the public that the court is transparent and fair," he said.