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Fired bodyguard boss in court

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The former chief of Senate president Chea Sim’s bodyguard unit appeared in Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday charged with four offences including possessing weapons without permission and faking public documents.

Hong Menea/Phnom Penh Post
Former chief of Chea Sim’s bodyguard unit Choeun Chanthan gets escorted from the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday.

Chhoeun Chanthan, a former lieutentant-general, also known as Mao, 41, denied the charges against him, which also included issuing weapons and licences to unauthorised persons and using fake documents.

“The charges are an injustice because I have not committed these things,” he told the court.

Chhoeun Chanthan was arrested with three other bodyguards on August 13 last year when police and military police seized weapons and ammunition in a raid on his house in Chamkarmorn district’s Boeung Keng Kang III commune, in Phnom Penh.

“All the weapons and ammunition that I kept in my house were legal and belonged to Samdech Chea Sim’s bodyguard unit,” he said.

Chhoeun Chanthan said he had been storing AK-47s, machines guns and pistols that he had carried to protect Chea Sim.

“I had ordered my soldiers to bring them and put them temporarily in my house because some of the weapons were broken during the mission and I needed to check them properly before returning them to the unit,” he said.

“As bodyguard chief, I had the right to grant permission to soldiers or officers under my commands to possess pistols or weapons. But I never issued them to those who were not competent nor did I fake any documents.”

Put Theavy, Chhoeun Chanthan’s defence lawyer, said people jealous of his client’s position had set him up.

Chhoeun Chanthan was sacked as Chea Sim’s bodyguard chief and as deputy commander at the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces after his arrest.

Top Chhun Leng, representing prosecutor, said enough evidence existed to convict Chhoeun Chanthan.

“I would like to ask the judge to decide on his case,” he said.

Suos Sam Ath, presiding judge, said a verdict would be given  on February 16.

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