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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - SRP lawyer’s chase tale pure fiction, police say

SRP lawyer’s chase tale pure fiction, police say

SRP lawyer’s chase tale pure fiction, police say

There have been no attempts by police to arrest opposition Sam Rainsy Party lawyer Choung Choungy, who is simply concocting the drama in a bid for fame, police said yesterday.

National Police spokesman Kirt Chantharith told the Post that police had made no attempt to arrest Choung Choungy at all last week, contrary to the allegations made by the lawyer.

“He makes it seem like the police are so weak – he says [police] attempted to arrest him three times and he got away. If police wanted to arrest him, he would have nowhere to run,” Kirt Chantharith said.

SRP parliamentarians reported Choung Choungy missing on Thursday after he seemingly disappeared and was unreachable following a frantic phone call he made to his niece claiming he was being chased to police.

At a press conference the following day, Choung Choungy said that officers had set up three traps to arrest him, but he managed to evade all of them.

Kirt Chantharith said the allegation was completely false.

“He probably wants to be famous,” he said.

However, rights groups fear the lawyer is the victim of serious threats and intimidation and has been frightened into silence since his ordeal. “Choung Choungy now does not dare to talk much publicly, because he has been pressured by the government institutions that are behind his disappearance last week,” Am Sam Ath, chief investigator for rights group Licadho said.

Choung Choungy and SRP parliamentarian Chen Chang have been been charged with helping a deputy commune chief “escape” from prison after he was detained without an arrest warrant.

When contacted by the Post yesterday, both the Justice Ministry cabinet chief and the Kandal Provincial Court president refused to comment on the case or the allegations of government scare tactics.

Choung Choungy told reporters on Thursday that he planned to hold an ongoing peaceful protest over the charges against him.

He plans to shave his head and wear white in Buddhist tradition and conduct a meditation from Wednesday to Friday outside SRP headquarters. From Monday, January 9, to Thursday, January 19, he will conduct his peaceful protest outside various government institutions allegedly involved in the debacle, including Kandal Provincincal Court, the Appeal Court and Supreme Court, the Ministry of Justice and the Cambodian Bar Association.

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