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‘General’, friends to serve out sentences

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Khmer-Australian Tim Kimsuth sticking tongue out to journalist after the court of appeal vindicated a 2011 decision by the Phnom Penh Municipal court. Photograph: Hong Menea/Phnom Penh Post

The Court of Appeal yesterday vindicated a 2011 decision by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, upholding the senten-ces of three men convicted of threatening, illegally possessing a weapon and impersonating a military officer.

Presiding judge Yun Narong said Cambodian-Australian Tim Kimsuth, also known as Nhim Visuth, 34, would serve out his two-year term for impersonating a two-star general.

Cambodian-Americans Chan Phith, also known as John, 41, and Em Sen, 37, were re-convicted of threatening and poss-ession of an illegal weapon, and ordered to complete their two-year and 18-month terms.

“The court of appeal understood that the decision dated December 27, 2011 of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court was right, and was made within the law,” Narong read from the trio’s verdicts.  

The three were arrested in August, 2011 at a hotel in the capital’s Russey Keo district after a traffic accident in which Phith brandished an M-16 assault rifle at So Sitha, deputy director of the Information Ministry’s television department.

Police seized the M-16, a Toyota SUV and two RCAF military uniforms bearing Kimsuth’s name and the insignia of a general.

A Russey Keo district police officer who asked not to be named said yesterday Phith and Seng were “former gangsters” who had been deported from the US five years ago.

The defendants could not be reached for comment yesterday, but during their init-ial trials all three denied the charges.

Kimsuth said at the time he had bought the RCAF uniform for $30, and had worn it only in his room.

To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at reaksmeykongkea.buth@phnompenhpost.com

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