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Law enforcement in Cambodia is handled by the Cambodian police force, which numbers 64,000. The force is organized into six departments.

Organization

The police are organized into six departments: security, transport, public order, border, administrative, and judicial. While the judicial police are meant to function under the prosecutor-general's office, in fact they receive orders from the national police commander, meaning prosecutors lack control over the judicial police department.

The former National police chief General Hok Lundy was a political appointee known for his loyalty to Prime Minister Hun Sen. The international community had quietly pressed the prime minister to remove his police chief for several years, but he was too central to Hun Sen's power structure and he showed no sign of changing his position. Hok Lundy died in a helicopter accident on Nov. 8, 2008.

Drug trafficking

In addition to the political role of the police, there is widespread evidence of involvement in drug and people trafficking and corruption. At the level of ordinary police, this phenomenon should be contextualized by noting the average salary of many police officers barely exceeds USD20 per month. There are several documented incidents of open fighting between drug investigation units and other police involved in trafficking.

Criticism

The police have little regard for procedure, either in terms of gathering evidence or in handling suspects. The police have also gained a reputation for brutality, venality, and corruption. Amnesty International reported in June 2005 that torture of prisoners in police custody was widespread. According to the United States Department of State, local police rarely investigate reports of crime against foreign tourists.

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