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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - King takes year off sentences

Chan Sreynuch, owner of Mikasa beauty salon
Chan Sreynuch, owner of Mikasa beauty salon, covers her face at the Municipal Court in 2013. Sreynuch was granted a 12-month reduction on her sentence by the King for good behavior. Hong Menea

King takes year off sentences

King Norodom Sihamoni has granted 12-month sentence reductions to 116 prisoners – including hairdresser to the stars Chan Sreynuch and former South East Asia Radio and TV executive Sem Sovandeth – for their efforts towards rehabilitation, police said yesterday.

Sem Savuth, deputy chief of the Prisons Department of the Ministry of Interior, said the reductions – issued in a decree dated November 12 – had been granted because of the inmates’ attempts at self-improvement.

“They were granted a year of their sentence reduced by the King, because they have made efforts to modify themselves to be a good person after they were convicted by courts and jailed for many years in prison,” he said yesterday.

“Their good character and behaviour were also commended and reported by their prison chiefs, and they sent [a request] to the ministry to reduce their sentences so that they can get out of prison to resume their work and be good citizens in the future,” he added.

Sreynuch, the so-called “make-up madam”, was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison in 2013 on sex-trafficking charges. The proprietor of a well-known beauty salon that catered to the rich and famous, she was accused of using her position to recruit female students and aspiring singers as prostitutes for wealthy clients.

Despite being singled out for her good behaviour, Sreynuch has struggled with transitioning away from her criminal lifestyle. While serving her initial sentence, she was caught and tried early in 2014 for trafficking drugs into Prey Sar prison and slapped with an additional two-year sentence, one year of which was suspended.

Sovandeth was hauled up on charges of “breach of trust” after a complaint by his superiors at SEA TV, who noticed “irregularities” in his accounting practices. He was also convicted of clearing 138 hectares of a wildlife sanctuary in Kampot province.

Kao Ty, a lawyer for Sovanndeth – who’s serving an eight-year sentence – said he was pleased that his client had been granted the reduction.

“He’s now in detention in Kandal Provincial Prison. He still has more than two years’ detention remaining,” he said.

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