A man currently serving a 10-year prison sentence for theft allegedly extorted a woman for hundreds of dollars—and later demanded thousands more—over explicit videos she streamed to him over Facebook to his cell in Prey Veng provincial prison, a police official said on Tuesday.
Yem Bros, 43, had been corresponding with a 45-year-old woman from Kandal province since last month when he persuaded her to show her genitals over video chat, said Kandal provincial police chief Eav Chamroeun.
Mr. Chamroeun said Mr. Bros had access to several different devices inside prison, and had recorded the footage on another smartphone before threatening to post the material online unless the victim transferred $500 to him, which she did.
The victim, who did not know that Mr. Bros was in prison, filed a complaint with the provincial police on Saturday after Mr. Bros tried to extort her for another $5,000, he said.
Mr. Chamroeun said Mr. Bros was handed a 10-year prison sentence in 2010 over robberies he had carried out in Takeo and Kampot provinces, but was transferred to the Prey Veng provincial prison to serve his sentence.
From behind bars, Mr. Bros has had access to three mobile phones, one laptop, four mobile phone numbers and five Facebook accounts, he said. Prison guards helped him retrieve the extorted money, he added.
Prisoners in Cambodia are not allowed access to personal devices, but the country’s prison guards have long been accused of taking bribes from detainees.
According to a post on the police chief’s Facebook page, the suspect told him that he had been given permission to use the devices by a prison official.
“In Prey Veng prison, when I came out from the cell, I could play with computers and phones because I received permission from deputy prison chief Um Rayoeung. Also, previously I used to buy him some equipment,” Mr. Chamroeun quoted Mr. Bros as saying.
Prey Veng provincial prison chief Var Yan could not be reached for comment, and a phone number for his deputy, Mr. Rayoeung, could not be obtained by reporters on Tuesday.
Huy Hoeun, deputy director of the Interior Ministry’s general department of prisons, said he had ordered Mr. Yan to investigate his staff to find out who conspired with Mr. Bros.
“There’s no one [that is] allowed to bring any technology…into prison,” he said.
Mr. Hoeun said there were three possible ways Mr. Bros could have obtained his collection of devices: “First is, he got it when his family visited; second, somebody threw it over the prison fence; and third, maybe it could be [from] conspiring with some bad prison official.”
“From Prey Sar prison, [we] always have reports about mobile phones being caught inside prison. It always happens and it won’t be over,” he said.
He said Mr. Bros was scheduled to be transferred to Prey Sar prison, but declined to elaborate on the decision.
Mr. Chamroeun, the police chief, said the victim’s complaint would be sent to the Kandal provincial court soon.
odom@cambodiadaily.com
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