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

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Banteay Meanchey gunfight sees 15 Thais arrested, three officers injured

    The Banteay Meanchey Military Police have arrested 15 Thai suspects and their accomplices after a gun battle between two Thai groups caused injuries to three police officers in the early hours of November 21, local authorities said. National Military Police spokesman Eng Hy said that according to

  • PM: Do not defile Tonle Sap swamp forest or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered police to arrest anyone – including government officials – involved with the deforestation of the flooded forests surrounding the Tonle Sap Lake because it is an area important to the spawning of many species of fish, among other reasons. Speaking in a