Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced a local newspaper publisher with a construction business on the side to three years in prison on defamation charges yesterday in a convoluted case over an unpaid debt that escalated until the case was taken up by the Anti-Corruption Unit.
A business partner of Hang Chamroeun, 53, publisher of Ponleu Samaki, or Light of Solidarity, newspaper, was also sentenced to three years. The court ordered both to pay a fine of $1,500.
Chamroeun and his partner, Phai Bunthoeun, 48, claim a local family owes them $75,000 for a house Chamroeun built for them in Tuol Kork district. Chamroeun tried to collect through the court system, and after that failed, he complained to the ACU that court officials were in on the conspiracy to defraud him.
From 2011 to 2012, he filed complaints to the ACU six times against Dith Munty, president of the Supreme Court, Chev Keng, president of the Phnom Penh Court, and government lawyer Ky Tech, former president of the Cambodian Bar Association. Tech had represented the family involved in the original complaint.
“His complaints were disordered and at the same time a waste of the work that ACU does,” said Kheang Seng, who examined the case for the unit.