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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Man jailed for chewing gum offence

Man jailed for chewing gum offence

A defence lawyer criticised authorities yesterday for arresting his mentally ill client, 63, after he stuck his chewing gum on a Cambodian-Japanese friendship plaque in Phnom Penh on Wednesday morning.

Bun Heang spent a night at the Daun Penh police station after security guards arrested him over the incident near the Night Market in Wat Phnom commune.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday issued the man a suspended five-day jail term and fined him 50,000 riels (US$12.50).

Bun Heang’s defence lawyer Dun Vibol said his client suffered from a mental illness – as proved by documents from his doctor – and had committed only a minor offence that did not warrant a day in court.

“I think this is not justice for my client. I cannot accept it,” he told the Post yesterday, adding Bun Heang should have been fined on the spot.

He had been accused of intentionally damaging state property; however, that charged had been downgraded to “mistreating” state property by the time he appeared in court.

To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at



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