Monday, November 28, 2011

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

FIVE men were temporarily arrested and questioned by Kandal provincial police on Monday night in connection with the illegal smuggling of over 70 turtles, officials said yesterday.

Tith Vong, chief of the provincial economic office, said that the men were apprehended and questioned after police discovered three cases containing 71 turtles in a van in Koh Thom district on Monday night. However, the driver of the van, who is believed to be responsible for the turtle smuggling, fled and remains at large.

“The five men were released [after questioning] because they are not relevant to the transportation of the turtles,” Tith Vong said.

Soun Sovann, deputy director of the Forestry Administration’s department of legislation and law enforcement, said yesterday that turtles were one of the most frequently smuggled forms of wildlife.

He added that over the past six months, authorities nationwide have cracked down on 73 wildlife smuggling cases, seizing 2,584 animals and 477 kilogrammes of meat.

“Some of the seized animals were released into the wild, while others were sent to the Forestry Administration. The sick animals were cured and taken to be cared for at the Phnom Tamao Zoo,” Soun Sovann said.

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

AN Indonesian tourist, who is embroiled in a court case over a US$60,000 theft, was put on trial again yesterday for stealing an additional $35,000 from a telecommunications company cashier. The second trial came despite his claims he was not in Cambodia at the time of either offence.

Dainavil Saputra, aged 27, appeared at Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday along with fellow holidaymaker 32-year-old Rahman Ali.

Judge Keo Mony said they were arrested in March this year after Metfone cashier Chea Samneang had $35,000 stolen from her on February 9. She had taken out money for staff salaries from an Acleda bank branch in Phnom Penh. While carrying the cash to her office in Tuol Kork district, she was robbed.

“Dainavil Saputra is a main suspect in this case. Rahman Ali is the suspected motorbike driver who helped Dainavil Saputra to escape after he successfully stole the money,” said the judge.

Dainavil Saputra has also been charged by the court with stealing more than $60,000 from a 45-year-old woman on February 24 in Phnom Penh. That case is currently being reinvestigated, so police can investigate claims that he was not in the Kingdom at the time.

Yesterday, both men denied the charges, reiterating they were in Indonesia when the offence took place. They said they entered Cambodia as tourists via Poipet International Checkpoint from February 5 to 9 and again on March 15, before their arrest.

Defence lawyer Pich Sorya said they had been wrongfully arrested. “There is no proof or evidence … because they were not staying in Cambodia. I would like to ask the court to drop charges against them and release them,” he said.

A verdict is due August 31.

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

A 30 YEAR-OLD Sierra Leone man was tried in absentia yesterday by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on charges of sending over 200 grams of heroin through the Cambodian post.

Duch Kimsorn, presiding judge at the court, said that Kapo Alfred, a Sierra Leone tourist, was charged by the court on March 15 for international drug trafficking.

The alleged drug-trafficker sent 226 total grams of heroin in five separate envelopes to three separate addresses in Australia, Duch Kimsorn said.

“He put the drugs inside five envelopes and mailed it to Australia. This is against the law,” Duch Kimsorn said.

Chap Socheat, the Daun Penh Post Office’s chief of administration, said that on March 10 his staff reported irregular mail pieces. Upon inspection, Chap Socheat discovered that the five envelopes contained heroin. One of the envelopes listed Kapo Alfred’s nickname, Chris Alfred, as the sender, which was how authorities caught him.

Deputy prosector Meas Chanpiseth said in court yesterday that the police investigation had proven that Kapo Alfred was the sole sender of the envelopes.

“There is enough evidence to prove that Kapo Alfred sent the drug envelopes. Therefore, I would like to ask the court to sentence him according to Cambodia’s laws,” he said.

Bun Kong, Kapo Alfred’s defense lawyer, denied the charges against his client yesterday in court, claiming that there was no proof that his client was guilty.

“There is no evidence that shows that my client was the owner of these envelopes, so I’m asking the court to drop the charges against him,” he said.

A verdict in the case is scheduled to be delivered on October 12.

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

AT least 22 families living in the capital’s Chamkarmon district are being forced to sell their land at below market value to the Thai Bun Roong Company in order to make way for a housing development, villagers said Wednesday.

Village representative Chhim Veasna said that the families, living on a parcel of land in Tonle Bassac commune known as T85, have received a notice from the Council of Ministers mandating that they sell their land for $400 per square metre.

The villagers say their land is worth between $2,000 and $2,500 per square metre.

“We are very concerned about our houses and living situation because we are being forced to move by the Thai Bun Roong Compnay,” Chhim Veasna said.

“They want to expel us from our places by forcing us to sell our houses to them at the lowest prices.”

A Council of Ministers notice was obtained by the Post on Wednesday. Dated September 8 and signed by Secretary of State Prak Sokhonn, it orders villagers to decide between selling their land for $400 per square metere or relocating to 4.3 metre by 16 metre lots in Dangkor district’s Choam Chao commune.

Chhim Veasna said that the villagers have been living on the land since 1990.

“We all agreed that we will not sell our houses to the company unless they offer a fair price. We will continue to live and stay here until there is a fair solution,” he said, appealing to Prime Minister Hun Sen to intervene and save the villagers from “Thai Bun Roong Company’s intimidating and forcing”.

The villagers would be willing to sell the land at between $1,000 and $2,000 per square metre, Chhim Veasna added.

Villager Meas Sovanna said that Thai Bun Roong Company agents had intimidated her and tried to force her to sell her land cheaply.

“I will not move my house to the new place unless there is fair compensation,” she said.

“If we are evicted, we will hold a big demonstration against it,” she added.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said yesterday that he had not heard of this specific complaint, but promised to look into the issue on Friday. He surmised that the Council of Ministers document that the villagers were referring to might be fake, because the government does not set land-sale prices in negotiations between companies and villagers.

A representative of Bun Roong Company could not be reached for comment yesterday.

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

THE director of a foreign NGO in Siem Reap town was questioned in court yesterday in connection with alleged indecent acts with minors following his arrest during a police raid on Saturday, officials said.

Sun Bunthang, chief of the Siem Reap provincial anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection police, said that 38-year-old Dutchman Sebastiann Reuyly, who heads NGO Generation Next Cambodia, was arrested by police at his office and detained for questioning.

“He was charged with indecent acts against minors under 15 years old,” he said.

Sun Bunthang said that police investigators found that Reuyly had abused five Cambodian children between 7 and 13 years of age in his room at the centre, and that police had rescued a 7-year-old girl from his room during the raid.

Samleang Seila, country director for NGO Action Pour Les Enfants, said that his organisation will provide free legal services for the children.

“I would like to appeal to the parents of children to bring out their children from this centre,” he said, adding that Generation Next Cambodia has been operating in Siem Reap for more than a year, offering free education, food and accommodation to poor children.

“I would like also to appeal to the concerned authorities to take action in investigating other foreign children organisations or centres in Siem Reap.”

Samleang Seila said that since 2009, three directors of children’s centres in Siem Reap and Sihanoukville have been arrested for alleged child abuse and indecent acts against minors.

Neither Sebastiann Reuyly nor staff from Generation Next Cambodia could be reached for comment yesterday.

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

A 26-YEAR-OLD man was charged yesterday with the rape of a 16-year-old girl in Banteay Meanchey’s Sisophon Town on Friday morning, officials said yesterday.
Prum Theng, chief of the provincial anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection office, said that Khem Khom, an employee for the girl’s family, was detained by the girl’s parents after he raped her at her house.
“He raped the victim twice before he was arrested,” he said.
In a separate case, a 42-year-old man was arrested yesterday over the rape of 13-year-old girl in Kampong Chhnang province’s Teuk Phos District, district police chief Kim Sareth said.
“She was caught and forcibly raped by the suspect while she went to look after her buffalos in the rice fields,” he said.

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

AN American doctor has been arrested on suspicion of sexually abusing two teenage boys.

The United States citizen was arrested in the Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district at 9.3am on Friday, said Keo Thea, director of the capital’s Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Police, yesterday.

He said that the suspect had been detained by police and was being questioned regarding the purchase of child prostitution services in Cambodia.

“I expect that he will be charged by the municipal court on Monday,” he said.

The American, he added, had been arrested following contact with the FBI and a search had been conducted of his home.
Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

THREE Bangladeshi men and 13 Cambodians were arrested yesterday under suspicion of stealing large quantities of clothing from garment factories in the capital in order to export them overseas, officials said.

Mao Dara, deputy director of the criminal police department in the Ministry of Interior, said yesterday that his office had received several complaints from garment factory owners claiming that their facilities had been robbed of large quantities of clothing.

“Our police force has been spending a lot of time investigating the case which has led to the arrest of those who robbed the garment factories,” Mao Dara said.

He confirmed that authorities had confiscated a large shipping container full of clothing that the men were allegedly transporting with the aim of exporting the items overseas.

“They were arrested when they were trying to transport the stolen clothes for export to the United States of America through [Sihanoukville] port,” he said.

Mao Dara added that the three suspects had divulged the names of 13 Cambodian nationals who were all arrested in connection with the theft.

Municipal court deputy prosecutor Sok Roeun said yesterday that the court had not officially charged the suspects.

“I cannot yet reveal details related to their identification or accusations [against them],” he said.

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

Possession of fake currency and an illegal firearm led to the arrest of two Vietnamese nationals on Tuesday night in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district.

Kong Veasna, an officer of the Phnom Penh Municipal military police, said that Hean Krahan, 66, and Yin Tum, 51, were arrested on Tuesday around 11:30pm in Daun Penh’s Phsar Thmey III commune.

When the suspects were arrested, police confiscated a pistol, 18 bullets, US$ 400 in fake currency, US$ 1,800 of legitimate currency and six mobile cell phones, said Kong Veasna.

He also added that Heang Krahan was carrying a press card issued by the Ministry of Information that identified him as a reporter for the “The Krong Kampuchea Newspaper,” in Phnom Penh.

The two suspects could not be reached yesterday for comment.

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

A 16-YEAR-OLD boy was yesterday jailed for more than three years for the rape on a seven-year-old girl in Phnom Penh last year. The youth was found to have raped the girl on September 20 last year in Chraing Chamresh I Commune, in Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo district. He was charged in October following a complaint from the victim’s parents and was ordered to pay 3 million riel (about US$750) in compensation yesterday.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday convicted a Khmer Islam boy to 3 years and 6 months in jail over the attempted rape of a juvenile Khmer Islam girl last year in Phnom Penh. It had also ordered him to pay 3 million (about US$ 750) in compensation to her.

Duch Kimsorn, Presiding Judge of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, said yesterday that Sos Rosali, 16, was convicted to 3 years and 6 months in jail with attempted rape of a 7-year-old-girl on 20th September 2010 in Village II, Chraing Chamresh I Commune, Russey Keo District, in Phnom Penh.

“The court has found that he has a guilty. It is decided to convict him to 3 years and 6 months in prison and order him to pay 3 million riels in compensation to the victim. It is also ordered to the competent authorities to take measures and actions for his arrest and bring him to serve his term of sentences as the court’s verdict,” he said.

He added that he now had been in escape but he was charged by the court in October 2010, based on the complaint of the victim’s parents.

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

A HUSBAND and wife were given three-year jail sentences, with one year suspended, at Phnom Penh Municipal court yesterday for running a brothel in a massage parlour. Say Thim, aged 26, and his wife Soeun Chenla, aged 25, were arrested during a shop raid in the capital’s Chamkarmon district in March, during which seven women were rescued. Say Thim’s father, 50-year-old Sum Neang, said following the verdict that the couple was innocent and they had only been staying with their cousin at the parlour while finding work in the capital.

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

The Court of Appeal yesterday postponed the hearing of convicted Thai spies Veera Somkwamkid and Ratree Pipapatanapaiboon due to their lack of defense lawyers and Thai interpreters.

Samrith Sophal, a judge at the Court of Appeal, said that the duo’s appeal hearing, which was set to open yesterday, has been postponed to November 28.

“Their case is criminal and [they] must have lawyers to defend them for their hearing. Due to their lack of defense lawyers and interpreters, it is decided to postpone their appealing hearing to November 28,” he told reporters yesterday at the Court of Appeal.

Veera Somkwamkid and Ratree Pipapatanapaiboon were not present at court yesterday. They could not be reached for comments.

Thai Foreign Affairs spokesman Thani Thongpakdee said the defendants are looking after their own defense and declined to comment further.

Pich Vicheka, a former defense lawyer for the two, said that he was not aware of their appeal hearing because he had not been hired to defend them for their appeal.

“I am now no longer involved with their cases,” he said. “I could not comment about their appeal.”

Chiv Song Hak, president of the Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia, said that if the two convicted spies are unable to pay for their defense and cannot find lawyers, they can request that the court ask for lawyers from his association.

“The Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia is [happy] to send its lawyers to provide legal services for every suspect if they do not have money to hire lawyers or cannot find defense lawyers. If they need our lawyers, they can request it to the courts,” he told the Post yesterday.

In regard to the lack of interpreters, he added that those can also be requested through the court.

Veera Somkwamkid and Ratree Pipapatanapaiboon were arrested by Cambodian authorities on December 28, 2010, along with other five Thai nationals after illegally crossing into Cambodia near O’Bei Chean Village, in Banteay Meanchey province.

On February 1, Veera Somkwamkid was sentenced by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to a total of 8 years in jail and fined 1.5 million riel (or about US$367), while Ratree Pipapatanapaiboon was convicted to 6 years in jail and fined 1.2 million riel (or $294).

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

Kidnappers freed the son of a three-star general yesterday in what his father claimed was a case of mistaken identity that led the assailants to drop a US$500,000 ransom demand.
So Akno, the son of Lieutenant General So Phan, the deputy director of the general commissariat of the National Police, was kidnapped on October 8 by a group of armed men who police said then demanded $1 million ransom for his release.
But So Phan said having already halved their demand, the kidnappers released his son yesterday at 2 am without extorting a cent from him.
“I am very happy, as my son has been released from a group of kidnappers, and he was not tortured or injured. I did not pay any money to the kidnappers,” he said, adding he would not pursue the perpetrators through the courts or police.
He denied rumors he had paid US$500,000 to secure his son’s release.
But a police official from the Ministry of Interior, who asked to remain anonymous, claimed the reduced ransom had been paid by So Phan to free his son.
“We now are working hard to arrest these kidnappers to bring them to justice,” he said, adding that the group had been sighted throwing So Akno into a Lexus at 6 pm when they originally kidnapped him from his house in Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district.
Touch Naruth, chief of Phnom Penh Municipal Police; Ya Kim Y, chief of Phnom Penh Municipal Military Police; Mok Chito, chief of the Ministry of Interior’s Criminal Police Department; and Khieu Sopheak, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

TWO young girls drowned in a canal in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district on Friday afternoon on the way home from visiting their parents in a nearby rice field, officials said yesterday.

Deputy provincial police chief Chan Kosal said that Kunthea Routh, 11, and her 6-year-old sister, Kunthea Neang, drowned in a canal about 400 metres from their house in O’ Prasat commune’s Phnom Prasath village after leaving around midday.

“They have sought out their parents, who left home for a long time to work as rice harvesters for people in the same village. As they returned home along the road, they played in the water of the canal and drowned together,” he said.

Chan Kosal added that witnesses said Kunthea Routh attempted to help when she saw her sister struggling in the water, but neither could swim. Their bodies were discovered by their parents on the bank of the canal that evening, he said.

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

A MAN fronted a police press conference yesterday and spoke of his role in kidnapping So Kano, the son of So Phan, the secretary of state for the Ministry of Interior.

Suth Sophy, 38, said that after So Kano’s kidnapping on October 3, he drove the victim to a rented house in Toek LaakI commune, Toul Kork district.

Cambodian-French So Kano was kidnapped while driving a car near his house in village III, Chroy Changva commune, Russey Keo district.

The kidnappers demanded US$1 million from his family for his release, but after negotiations, the figure was reduced and So Kano was released for an undisclosed amount on October 23.

Suth Sophy claimed to have received US$10,000 for transporting So Kano, but said he had no more involvement with his fellow kidnappers until So Kano’s release, when he was paid.

Sear Sambath, chief of the Office of Crime Offense of National Military Police, said authorities spent 44 days investigating and tracking Suth Sophy before arresting him.

He said 44-year-old Lim Thy and 38-year-old Lvea Chek, two Cambodians believed to be living in France, were suspected ringleaders of the kidnapping, while 32-year-old Klee Sophy, believed to have escaped to Thailand, Cheat Vichet, 23, and a person known as Van were also wanted.

“They rented a villa to detain the victim and carry out the kidnapping. They spent $US13,500 on three guns, 50 bullets and two cars for the kidnapping,” Sear Sambath said.

Authorities searched a villa on Wednesday in Toek Laak I commune, Toul Kork district.

Police found string, sticky plastic, a diary book and a gun cover in the raid.

Sear Sambath said police were working with the French Embassy in Cambodia to hunt for Lim Thy and Lvea Chek.

So Phan and his family could not be contacted for comment yesterday.

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

MAN who had set himself aflame after his ex-wife refused to reconcile with him died from his wounds at Calmette hospital late Sunday night.
Chhum Pov, a 38-year-old migrant worker, had been rushed to the Phnom Penh hospital from Kampong Cham province’s Stung Trang district on Sunday evening but died soon after arriving, district police chief Chea Thearith said.
Chhum Pov had returned to his village in the district’s Soupheas commune early on Sunday hoping to reconcile with his ex-wife, who had divorced him four months ago, Chea Thearith said.
After failing to convince her to reunite with him, Chhum Pov doused her house in petrol, set it on fire, and then jumped into the flames, Chea Thearith said. Neighbours had to wait for the flames to subside before they could help him.
Chhum Pov was first taken to a district hospital where staff immediately had him transferred to Calmette, the officer said, adding that the deceased’s ex-wife had divorced him because he was unreliable and an alcoholic.

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

American national Phillip Bruce Shepard, 68, was officially charged yesterday by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court with purchasing child prostitution.

Shepard, a medical doctor at Princess Clinic in Phnom Penh, was arrested on Saturday by anti-human trafficking and juveline protection police at his home in Chamkarmon district’s Boueng Keng Kang III commune.

Director of Phnom Penh’s anti-human trafficking and juvenile police Keo Thea said Shepard was charged in connection to the sexual abuse of two brothers, 13 and 16-years-old.

“He was arrested based on the complaints of the two victims, who claim that they had been sexually abused by Shepard several times, as far back as 2008,” said Keo Thea. “According to our investigation, Mr. Shepard has had sexual relations with several Cambodian boys and young men during his time in the country.”

Shepard has been sent to Prey Sor prison where he will await his sentencing while police compile evidence and conduct an investigation covering his entire stint in Cambodia.

Country director for Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE) Samleang Seila said Shepard reportedly entered Cambodia in 2002.

“I appreciate that he has been arrested, but I regret that this did happen sooner. Shepard came to APLE’s attention in 2007, when his neighbors reported suspicious activity, as he was often taking different boys into his home,” said Samleang Seila.

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

THE owner of a Phnom Penh guesthouse was sentenced to 18 months in jail and fined 2 million riels (US$500 ) yesterday for permitting drug use and harbouring drug users. The owner of Rasmei Phka Chhouk II guesthouse in Daun Penh district, 36-year-old Prum Sophea, was arrested on March 19 this year, along with 11 others when police raided his guesthouse.

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

POLICE will investigate a mother’s claim that one of its officers tortured her 9-year-old son in Phnom Penh, an official said yesterday.

Chan Sahouth, Deputy Chief of Russey Keo District Police, said a woman had accused a police officer at the Chraing Chamresh II Commune Police of beating the boy while interrogating him over an alleged steel theft in Russey Keo District on Sunday.

“He has accused and arrested a young boy over the stealing of steel from a construction company in Borey Rity Apartment in Tuol Sangke Commune. [The officer] was accused of torturing him during an interrogation,” Chan Sahouth told the Post.

“If he has really committed this as accused, [he has] violated juvenile rights and the law. He will be arrested or punished by the law, despite [being] a policeman.”

The victim’s mother said a security guard had detained her son and handed him over to the police after the boy had searched for steel with a group of boys inside a building construction site in Borey Rithy Apartment in Tuol Sangke Commune, Russey District.

“[The police officer] has accused my son of stealing steel. He has beaten and slapped my son’s head many times for questioning. His activities were very cruel. I could not accept it,” she said.

Chan Sahouth said commune police would investigate, although they had not yet received a complaint from the victim’s family.

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea and David Boyle

A COUSIN of Prime Minister Hun Sen was found guilty in absentia of corruption and sentenced to two years in prison yesterday but remains free in Phnom Penh as a warrant for her arrest has still not been issued.
Dy Proem, 49, was found guilty of paying a US$200,000 bribe to the former deputy general director of the inspection department at the Ministry of National Assembly-Senate Relations and Inspection, Seng Yean, in connection with a Phnom Penh land dispute in 2008.
Presiding Judge Duch Kimsorn told the court that Dy Proem bribed Seng Yean to issue a fake Council of Ministers statement on March 18, 2008, falsely claiming she was the rightful owner of 5 hectares of disputed land in Dangkor District’s Kakab Commune.
“Based on proof and witnesses, the court has found that Seng Yean and Dy Proem are guilty,” he said, without explaining why no arrest warrant had been issued.
Seng Yean was handed a four-year sentence, also in absentia - though he, too, freely walks the streets of Phnom Penh - for accepting the bribe, and was ordered to pay US$40,000 in compensation to the Ministry of National Assembly-Senate Relations and Inspection.
During the trial, both defendants were granted bail and neither was summonsed for questioning, in apparent violation of the 1993 UNTAC criminal law.
Kao Ty, the lawyer of plaintiff Huoth Sarom, vowed to sue Judge Duch Kimsorn at the Supreme Council of Judges soon, alleging that arrest warrants had never been issued for either of the suspects because of political interference.
“I do not accept the court’s verdicts for Mr. Seng Yean and Dy Proem, because it was made with wrong court procedures. I also do not accept their sentences, because they are small - they do not fit their crimes,” he said.
Arrest warrants had not been issued for the pair, he alleged, because of their connections to Prime Minister Hun Sen and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.
The prime minister has publicly distanced himself from the case in the past, saying in December 2010 that the law “does not think about relatives” and that if guilty, his cousin should be “strongly punished”.
Sok Sam Oeun, executive director of the Cambodia Defenders Project, said the anti-corruption law technically allowed the court to not issue an arrest warrant for a guilty party, though this was set to change on December 10 when it is set to begin referencing the new penal law.
“If it is a felony, maybe she must be arrested, but there are two ways: [if she is] arrested under detention [a misdemeanor], there is no need to arrest,” he said, adding if an arrest warrant is not issued within five years, Dy Proem’s conviction would be annulled completely.
Panhavuth Long, a project officer at the Cambodia Justice Initiative, said the sentence was surprising given that Pursat provincial prosecutor Top Chan Sereyvuth was found guilty of corruption and imprisoned earlier this year.
“How come they found her guilty of corruption? You charge her and you found her guilty, and then you say that is not applicable because the corruption provision is not applicable, that is very strange,” he said.
Khieu Sophal and Chhiv Theng, the defence lawyers of Sean Yeng and Dy Proem respectively, both failed to attend court for the verdict but later denied their clients had committed any wrongdoing.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

A TEACHER of traditional healing in Banteay Meanchey province was yesterday charged with raping his niece over a two-month period while he was supposedly treating her for a nervous disorder, police said.
Serei Sophoan district police chief Rem Vireak said 57-year-old Chhim Phea was arrested on Sunday and then charged after his niece’s parents discovered their daughter was two-months pregnant and that her uncle was the father.
The 21-year-old girl had been suffering from a nervous disorder for several years before her parents decided to send her from their home in Svay Rieng province to her uncle’s home for treatment by him.
“Chhim Phea was a famous and respected Khmer traditional healing teacher in the village,” Rem Vireak told the Post yesterday. “He had raped her many times while she stayed for treatment at his house and he impregnated her.”
Sum Chankea, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said such a crime merited severe punishment.

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

Two men and one woman were officially charged with illegally operating brothels yesterday by the Pailin provincial court.
Police said the suspects, 52-year-old Sim Kieth, 48-year-old In Mao and 38-year-old Choeun Thea, were arrested on Monday in Pailin town when police raided two guesthouse’s being used as brothels.
Deputy chief of Palin police Chea Chan Din said 13 female sex workers were taken from the Deum Chhart and Ponnleu Preah Chan guesthouses during the raid and sent to a provincial rehabilitation center.
“If the brothel owners are found guilty they will face a minimum of five years in prison,”said Chean Chan Din.

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

A MAN who allegedly robbed a gold merchant was shot and killed by police after a brief stand-off in Kampong Cham province’s Chamkar Leu district. Chamkar Leu district police chief Ed Dara said the alleged thief, Morn March, was shot by police officers after he robbed a gold merchant and tried to allegedly attack police officers with a knife during an attempted arrest. “He was shot dead by police after he tried to use a large knife to attack our officers attempting to make an arrest,” said Ed Dara. Police confiscated the stolen gold and returned it to the merchant at the Chamkar Leu Market.

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

A teenage boy was sentenced in absentia Tuesday to three years in prison by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court after being found guilty of raping a 5-year-old girl last year. The 15-year-old convict, who remains at large, was also fined US$1,000. Presiding judge for the court Chaing Sinath said the teenager was charged based on complaints filed by the victim’s mother, which state he raped her daughter on September 25, 2010, in Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo district. “The court orders his arrest, in order for him to serve his jail term,” the judge said. The attorney for the convicted teenager could not be reached for comment yesterday.

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

Suspects in the high-profile corruption scandal that has rocked Senate president Chea Sim’s office were questioned in Phnom Penh Municipal Court for a second time yesterday over allegations they repeatedly engineered scams involving hundreds of millions of dollars.

Five of Chea Sim’s former staffers were arrested last month on allegations they had used their close connections with the high-ranking ruling party senator to defraud at least 51 companies from across the region on phony humanitarian and infrastructure projects.

Chea Sim’s former protocol chief, Pheng Kunthea Borey, and former advisors Chan Kosal and Pornlok Ho were questioned by presiding judge Chaing Sinath yesterday about documents that were seized from their properties, deputy prosecutor Meas Chanpiseth said.

“They were asked direct questions related to their accusations. They were also asked to testify about their companies and the documents or materials seized from their houses,” he said

Adorned in standard business clothes outside of court instead of the prison garb he has been forced to wear since his arrest, Chan Kosal said Chaing Sinath focused on his company Koy Sambath Cambodia, which he said had completed all projects it was commissioned to develop.

“I have devoted myself and works for Samdech Chea Sim’s humanitarian projects in order to make benefits for the whole Cambodian children. I had never received any cent of money from Samdech Chea Sim’s projects,” he said.

He claimed to not have received any recompense for a completed US$200,000 road connecting Svay Rieng town to Romeas Haek District in Svay Rieng province that he had paid for and constructed through his company.

On the website of a Malaysian company called Fasfik linked to the scam, Koy Sambath Cambodia is listed as the firm that had awarded them a contract to build a road and develop a township in Mondulkiri.

Chan Kosal’s lawyer Tep Mony Cheat denied his client’s firm had any association to Fasfik yesterday but conceded it did have above board dealings the Malaysian owned C4C fund.

Ponlork Ho alleged police had raided his house without informing his defence lawyer and claimed items seized did not belong to him.

“I absolutely deny this luggage belonged to me…there was no such luggage or documents in my house,” he said.

Suy Chhun Hak , the lawyer of the woman alleged to have been the ring leader of the scam - Pheng Kunthea Boery – professed her client’s innocence and said he would lodge a request for bail.

A former member of Chea Sim’s cabinet charged in connection with the scam, Khieu Bora, was not required at court yesterday because investigations into him had already been concluded, an anonymous court official said yesterday.

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

A teenage boy was sentenced in absentia Tuesday to three years in prison by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court after being found guilty of raping a 5-year-old girl last year. The 15-year-old convict, who remains at large, was also fined US$1,000. Presiding judge for the court Chaing Sinath said the teenager was charged based on complaints filed by the victim’s mother, which state he raped her daughter on September 25, 2010, in Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo district. “The court orders his arrest, in order for him to serve his jail term,” the judge said. The attorney for the convicted teenager could not be reached for comment yesterday.

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

A MOTODOP was found guilty of dealing crystal methamphetamine, commonly known as ice, and sentenced to two years in prison at Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday. Presiding judge Suos Sam Ath said yesterday 24-year-old Tak Neang had been caught in possession of 79.25 grams of ice outside the gates of the Institute of Technology of Cambodia in Toul Kork district’s Teuk La’ak III commune on March 7.

On March 9 he was charged with trafficking by police with trafficking, an offense he had been found guilty of.

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

A BROTHEL owner was found guilty of harbouring sex workers and providing them food in return for performing sexual services with clients by Phnom Penh Municipal court yesterday.

Meach Buny was sentenced to six years in prison for illegally operating a brothel in Chamkarmon district’s Tonle Bassac commune last year, presiding judge Sous Sam Ath said yesterday.

The defendant had provided between five and eight sex workers with food in exchange for performing sex work and charged the women a 50 percent commission on their earnings, which came from both local and foreign clients, he added.

Meach Buny denied exchanging food for sex yesterday and has 30 days to appeal the sentence.

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

A corruption trial against Prime Minister Hun Sen’s cousin Dy Proem, who is alleged to have paid a US$200,000 bribe to sway favour in a Phnom Penh land dispute, began yesterday.

Presiding Judge Duch Kimsorn said yesterday only new evidence would be examined in the court’s retrial of Dy Proem who allegedly bribed an official to issue a fake March 18 Council of Ministers statement awarding disputed land to him in Dangkor district’s Kakab Commune.

“This is the second time as the court has conducted the trial for Mr. Seng Yean and Dy Proem over the allegation of corruption,” he said.

The man who allegedly received the bribe, former deputy general director of the Inspection Department at the Ministry of National Assembly-Senate Relation and Inspection, has also been charged over the allegations.

The charges followed a complaint from widow and Phnom Penh landowner Houth Sarom, who claims that unlike 120 other families, she never sold her land to Dy Proem.

Long Narin, lawyer for Ministry of National Assembly, Senate Relation and Inspection, said there was documented proof the pair were guilty.

Neither of the accused pair could be reached for comment yesterday.

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

A woman who allegedly strangled her boyfriend to death was officially charged with murder yesterday by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court after she was arrested on Saturday in the Toul Sangke commune of the capital’s Russei Keo district.

The suspect, 30-year-old Sam Sorphea, was arrested Saturday at her residence in Toul Sangke commune after police said she used a piece of nylon rope to strangle her 40-year-old boyfriend, Sok Mao, while he was sleeping.

Huy Hean, Chief of the Toul Sangke commune police, said that Sam Sorphea previously lived in Svay Rieng province where she was married to a friend of Sok Mao. However, he said the suspect admitted that Sok Mao and she agreed to run away together to Phnom Penh, where they would be married.

“She [Sam Sorphea] decided to kill her boyfriend when she became angry that he [Sok Mao] had broken a promise by refusing to marry her after she ran away from her husband to live with him in Phnom Penh,”

Som Sorphea, who is awaiting sentencing, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

A gold seller was shot dead and robbed of 12 million Riel (US$ 30,000) while driving with her teenage daughter yesterday in Choam Chao commune of Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, said police
Choam Chao commune police chief Mam Hor said the victim, Chhuon Theara, also known as Mom, was shot three times in the chest and robbed by a group of five or six men brandishing a gun, while she driving a motorbike to the Olympic Market with her teenage daughter.
“She died while she was being sent for immediate medical attention at a private clinic in Dangkor district,” he said.
The police chief also confirmed that the teenage passenger was uninjured.
“The robbers successfully escaped after firing at the victims and taking the money,” he said.
Police have launched an investigation into the whereabouts of the suspects at large.

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

A Thai woman and five Cambodian men were charged drug trafficking drug use by the Banteay Meanchey Provincial Court after they were arrested in O’Chrou commune’s Poipet town on Saturday.
Thai national and 34-year-old dealer at a Poipet town casino Chan Lichiphorn was arrested along with five men: Bot Sreang, 37, Sok Hor, 24, Sou Tou, 19, Bot Mao, 32, and Ka Rina, 35, after police discovered 2 packages of amphetamines and drug paraphernalia during a raid upon their residence on Saturday in Poipet town.
Chief of Poipet commune penal police Prum Visith said the six suspects are being detained in Banteay Meanchey’s provincial prison where they await sentencing.

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

A DEFENCE lawyer acting for the wife of tycoon Khaou Chuly yesterday slammed a high-profile Appeal Court decision to uphold her conviction for attempted murder as having “no transparency”.

Seng Chenda’s appeal against her 20-year jail sentence failed on Friday.

Along with three accomplices, the 46-year-old had been found guilty of plotting to murder Sun Sotha - Khaou Chuly’s daughter from a previous marriage – at Phnom Penh Municipal Court in February.

During her appeal, it was alleged that she was innocent.

Her maid Chan Sokha, who is also serving 18 years for attempted murder, claimed that she had overheard discussions between Khaou Chuly and his son about a murder plot – an accusation he strongly denied.

Deputy Prosecutor of the Court of Appeal Ngeth Sarath confirmed yesterday that all the guilty verdicts had been upheld.

“The Court of Appeal has upheld the Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s convictions on Seng Chenda and her three associates. They were convicted from 18 to 20 years in jail each,” he said.

A lawyer acting on behalf of Sun Sotha yesterday said the decision was “justice for my client”, adding that he had strong evidence against the tycoon’s wife and her associates to take to a possible appeal at the Supreme Court.

But Lim Vann, a defence lawyer for Seng Chenda, still asserted her innocence stating: “I think that the decision has no transparency and has not provided justice for my client.”

Seng Chenda and Oknha Khaou Chuly could not be contacted for comment yesterday.

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

Armed robbers shot a woman yesterday and allegedly stole more than $US24,000 from the 48-year-old who ran a money exchange and gold shop in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district.
At about 10:15 Chhuon Theara was shot dead while driving a motorbike with her teenage daughter on it by five or six men that staged the robbery, Choam Chao commune police chief Mam Hor said yesterday. ‘
She was carrying a bag with 100 million riel ($US24,557) when someone opened fire.
“Three bullets were shot into her chests while she was driving a motorbike and carrying a big amount of exchanged Khmer money,” he said.
“She died while she was rushed for immediate rescue at a hospital in Phnom Penh”.
The victim was traveling on a routine trip from her home in Choam Chao Commune’s Prey Tea Village to exchange money at Olympic market, Mam Hor said.
“They were stopped and robbed while they were driving and arrived at a quiet place in the village. The robbers then successfully escaped from the place after they fired at the two victims and took the money,” he said.

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

A former military officer of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) who worked in Prime Minister Hun Sen’s bodyguard unit was arrested on Saturday and charged with counts of rape, breach of trust and fraud by the Kandal Provincial Court.
Prosecutor of the court Ouk Kimseth said 57-year-old Chea Chan Sophal, also known as Chanputrithy, was charged based on the complaints of three women and one man, tying the suspect to rape as well as using his previous status as a military officer as leverage to illegally obtain possessions.
“He was already charged by the court after the completion of his questioning last week,” he said.
Kandal provincial police officer Sath Saroeun said the suspect would allegedly wear his old RCAF uniform to make it appear he was an active officer and in turn use this false pretense of authority to borrow individual’s belongings without returning them.
A 20-year-old woman in Kampong Thom is accusing Chea Chan Sophal of raping her in 2010. A 28-year-old shop owner in Kandal province claims the suspect borrowed several thousand US dollars worth of construction materials, but refused to pay. Another victim, a 20-year-old man, claims the suspect borrowed his motorbike at the beginning of this year and has yet to return it.
“He is now staying at the provincial court where he is awaiting his trial,” said Ouk Kimseth.

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

ONE of five of alleged accomplices with close ties to Senate President Chea Sim accused of being complicit in a scam was formally charged on Wednesday evening with fraud and producing fake public documents.
National Military Police chief Kheng Tito said yesterday Chea Sim’s protocol chief Kunthea Borey was charged based on information provided by the Senate president’s former Bodyguard Unit chief, Chhoeun Chanthan, who was arrested in August in connection with the same case.
“She was then sent by police to detention at Prey Sor Prison awaiting further investigations and trial in the future,” he said yesterday.
Police lieutenant general Chan Kosal, former cabinet member Khieu Bora, and lieutenant general Ponlork Ho, who were arrested on Friday and Sunday last week, had all been charged in connection with the scam based on information from Chhoeun Chanthan.
Kheng Tito declined to comment on the specific scam that the charges had been made in connection to but Ponlork Ho and Cha Kosal are both prominently featured on the blog of Malaysian businessman Armin Baniaz Pahamin in connection with an unspecified business deal.
Armin Baniaz Pahamin has not responded to inquiries from the Post.
Kouy Thunna, Kunthea Borey’s defense lawyer, denied the allegations against his client and vouched for her good character.
He added that Kunthea Borey was only the victim of the police’s arrests because she had not committed any wrong things against the laws.
“She is very sincere and honest. Based on her sincerity and honesty, I can assume that she is also a victim in this case,” he said.
Kunthea Borey’s fall from grace had taken her from a respected position in society to a prison cell with 40 other inmates, he added, and requested she be released on bail based on her proven good character.
Kouy Thunna also declined to provide specific details of the scam she was implicated in.

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

A British national, who was previously arrested in 2005 on charges of child prostitution, stood trial yesterday at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court again on charges stemming from the purchase of child prostitution last year in Kandal province.
Presiding judge Oeung Seang, identified British national Michael Julian Leach, a 50-year-old tourist from London, as the individual being charged with the purchase of child prostitution.
The judge said Leach was arrested in September of 2010 at the Sneha One Guesthouse in Kandal province’s Kien Svay district on suspicion of sexually abusing three girls between the ages of 10 and 15. Five others are facing charges based on answers Leach gave to police during his questioning upon arrest.
Four Cambodians: 46-year-old Penh Phath, 42-year-old Nov Nhanh, 48-year-old Pheth Choeun, 46-year-old Sim Savoeun are being charged with being accomplices to child prostitution.
Sem Deth, 45-year-old female guesthouse owner, is being charged with providing a location for child prostitution.
Lawyer for the three victims Nuon Phanith, said Leach was previously arrested in 2005 while he worked as a doctor for a children’s organization in the Phnom Penh and allegedly had sex with underage girls. However, the charges were dropped after the court cited a lack of evidence.
“Today there is plenty of proof and evidence to prove he [Leach] has really committed his crimes. I hope that the court will find justice for the victims. I would like to ask the court to strongly punish him in accordance with law in Cambodia and expel him from the country after he has served his prison sentence,” Noun Phanith said.
He also recommended to the court that Leach be ordered to pay the three victims a total of US$ 15,000 in compensation.
Two of the Cambodians denied their charges as being accomplices yesterday.
“I confess that I used to drive him [Leach] to shop and eat at restaurants in Phnom Penh, but I did not know about his activities. I was not involved in the crimes. Therefore, I would like to ask the court to release me,” Hay Seila said.
Michael Julian Leach and his attorney could not be reached for comments yesterday.
Judge Oeung Seng said that the trial’s verdict would be made on September 8.

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

Forty-nine pythons, weighing from 20 to 30 kilograms each, were released into Koh Kong’s Stung Proat river on Saturday after being confiscated from a businessman in Kandal province’s Koh Thom district, an officer from Wildlife Alliance said yesterday.
“We were asked by provincial police to take the snakes from them on Friday,” he told the Post.
He added that he was informed by police that the suspect was a police officer who worked at the Cambodian-Vietnamese border checkpoint in Koh Thom district. His SUV was also confiscated, but he was later released by police after his arrest and questioning.
Iv Chamroeun, chief of the Kandal Police, contradicted that version of events, saying that the suspect had not been released but, in fact, escaped. He added that the 404 kilograms of pythons were confiscated on Thursday at about 3:30 pm at a police checkpoint located in Koh Thom district’s Sampao Puon commune, while the suspect was trying to export them for sale in Vietnam.
“The suspect escaped after he was cracked down on by police. We now are searching for his arrest in order to bring him to the justice,” he said.