Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Police have different answers on Chantha



Police have different answers on Chantha

Police have different answers on Chantha

Police officials in Svay Rieng province are offering widely varying stories as to the legal status of Bavet town deputy police chief Sar Chantha, with one yesterday confirming his arrest and ongoing detention in connection with a 2012 shooting and another claiming ignorance of even a warrant for that arrest.

The warrant in question was filed by Svay Rieng provincial prosecutor Hing Bunchea earlier this month, following Chantha’s December conviction for illegal weapons possession. The conviction was in connection with a February 2012 incident in which Bavet’s then-governor Chhouk Bandith fired live rounds into a crowd of protesters at the Kaoway Sports factory, injuring three women. Bandith remains at large.

Svay Rieng deputy police chief Khiev Sokhorm yesterday confirmed that Chantha had been detained for some time.

“[Chantha] is being questioned at the provincial police department, where he has been for the past three days,” Sokhorm said, before declining to comment further.

However, Bavet town police chief Keo Kong offered a different version of events, insisting he had not even seen a warrant for Chantha’s arrest, and maintaining that Chantha’s presence at provincial police headquarters was work-related.

“I sent him to the provincial police office for a one-week training session,” Kong said. “I do not remember the day he went there, but it was last week.”

Bunchea, the prosecutor who signed the arrest warrant, yesterday said he had made inquiries about the arrest, but had not heard from police regarding whether the warrant had been executed. “I have not received any information yet,” said Bunchea, who added that he had checked in on Monday.

Chantha’s legal status is a mystery even to his attorney, Mon Keo Siven, who said he has been unable to find anyone who can enlighten him as to his client’s whereabouts or legal status. Keo Siven said information about his client is being closely guarded.

“I could not get in touch with the court, Chantha or his family to see if he has been arrested,” Keo Siven said yesterday. “It seems that all the information related to him is being hidden.”

Such disparities of information between law enforcement institutions is not uncommon in Cambodia, Pech Pisey, director of programs at Transparency International Cambodia, said yesterday.

“There is an issue of conspiracy and keeping information from the public,” Pisey said. “Usually the authorities try to hide information from them.”

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SEAN TEEHAN

MOST VIEWED

  • Municipal hall releases map detailing colour coded Covid risks by commune

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng released an official map detailing the red, yellow and dark yellow zones within the city under the new lockdown orders for Phnom Penh announced on April 26. The designation of red, dark yellow and yellow corresponds to areas with high,

  • Inter-provincial travel ban lifted; Phnom Penh and Takmao not exempted

    The government on April 25 decided to lift the inter-provincial travel ban and the closure of tourist attractions across the country, effectively immediately. The travel ban and closures of all resorts were imposed on April 6 and 17 respectively in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19,

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • Phnom Penh, Takmao lockdown extended for another week

    The government late on April 26 announced an extension of lockdown in Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province for another seven days – or longer if residents do not comply with Covid-19 preventive measures and the community outbreak does not subside – until May 5. According

  • Gov't mulls extension of Phnom Penh, Takmao lockdown

    The Inter-ministerial National Commission for the Control and Enforcement of Lockdown held a video conference meeting on April 25 to review a draft document on the extension of lockdown in Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal province’s Takmao town. The meeting was chaired by Minister of

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a