Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ex-Bavet gov Bandith ends prison sentence



Ex-Bavet gov Bandith ends prison sentence

Former Bavet town governor Chhouk Bandith walks out the the Court of Appeal in Phnom Penh following a 2013 hearing.
Former Bavet town governor Chhouk Bandith walks out the the Court of Appeal in Phnom Penh following a 2013 hearing. Heng Chivoan

Ex-Bavet gov Bandith ends prison sentence

Former Bavet town governor Chhouk Bandith walked free from Prey Sar prison yesterday, after serving his 18-month sentence for shooting three unarmed garment workers during a 2012 protest, a sentence decried by rights groups and the victims themselves as too light.

“He was released today … because he has already served his prison term. There was no pardon or sentence reduction,” said Sorn Keo, of the Ministry of Interior’s Prisons Department.

The shooting injured three female workers, with Bandith initially denying responsibility despite numerous witnesses saying he’d fired into the crowd.

He was eventually sentenced in 2013 on the charge of “unintentional violence”, a verdict that drew widespread criticism for its perceived leniency.

The former governor vanished following the verdict, avoiding prison for two years before finally turning himself in after Prime Minister Hun Sen personally demanded his capture.

Moeun Tola, director of labour rights NGO Central, yesterday maintained that the conviction was too light and accused the court of political manipulation.

“He should have been charged with attempted murder and punished more because he took out a gun to shoot at the workers intentionally,” Tola said.

“[Bandith] did not try to answer about the case, but explained to officials about his dedication to the CPP. We know the court officials such as the prosecutor and judge are members of CPP. The court would not hand down a serious conviction to their fellow party member,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Without shoes or a helmet, a young cyclist steals the show

    Pech Theara gripped the curved handlebars of his rusty old bike, planted his bare feet on its pedals and stormed as fast as he could towards the finish line. The odds were against him as the 13-year-old faced off against kids with nicer bikes at

  • Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway on schedule

    The construction of the more than $1.9 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway has not been delayed despite the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 26 per cent of the project completed and expected to finish in about two years, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there

  • Cambodia lauded for fight against Covid-19

    Cambodia has drawn global accolades for its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a new report finding that the Kingdom has controlled the pandemic better than any other country in Asia. Dr Takeshi Kasai, director of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Western Pacific region,