A Cambodian Australian and two Cambodian Americans will serve between one and two years in jail for a drunken prank they committed in August, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court ruled yesterday.
The three men were charged with possessing an illegal weapon, issuing death threats and impersonating a military general.
“Tim Kimsuth, Australian-Cambodian, and Chan Phith, American-Cambodian, are convicted to two years’ imprisonment and two million riels [about US$500] fines each,” court vice-president Oeung Seang read in the verdict.
The second American-Cambodian, Em Seng, was sentenced to 18 months in jail and a one million riel ($250) fine.
“Chan Phith is ordered to additionally pay $5,000 for damages and compensation to the victims,” Oeung Seang said.
The victim was Ministry of Information television network deputy director So Sitha, who was driving his car on the Chroy Changvar Bridge in Phnom Penh when the returnee trio drove up beside him and drunkenly harassed him.
Chan Phith brandished an M-16 machine gun at So Sitha, threatening to kill him.
“The M-16 machine gun and the RAV 4 vehicle will also be confiscated from the convicted people’s property and will be handed over to the state,” Judge Oeung Seang said.
Following So Sitha’s complaint to police, there was a raid on the returnees’ home, during which police seized a Royal Cambodian Armed Forces uniform adorned with two-star general shoulder pads and embroidered with Tim Kimsuth’s name.
The Cambodian Australian was subsequently charged with impersonating a general despite his protestations that he wore the uniform only in his bedroom and had purchased it as a joke.
A police officer at the Russey Keo District Police station who asked not to be named told the Post the two Cambodian Americans were former gangsters who had been expelled from the US.
The trio declined to speak to the Post yesterday.