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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Three called in ‘flop’ case

Immigration officer Chhean Pisith lies on the ground in front of a vehicle owned by opposition official Mang Puthy in Banteay Meanchey’s Poipet town late last year. Photo supplied
Immigration officer Chhean Pisith lies on the ground in front of a vehicle owned by opposition official Mang Puthy in Banteay Meanchey’s Poipet town late last year. Photo supplied

Three called in ‘flop’ case

Three witnesses have been invited to testify at the Banteay Meanchey Provincial Court today in defence of an opposition official accused of hitting a Poipet immigration official with his seemingly stationary car - a case that social media pundits and observers have labelled a farce.

Defence lawyer Kim Socheat said the court had informed him that three eyewitnesses - Ngem Neang, Oun Chivon and Hin Seng Ouen - were invited to clarify the events of December 22 before the court.

“They will be present at the court to bear witness [today] after we suggested to the court that they could tell the story of what they saw,” Socheat said.

A video of the incident circulated widely on social media, and appears to show immigration official Chhean Pisith suddenly falling to the ground in front of a stationary car driven by local unionist and opposition official Mang Puthy. The video has since been parodied mercilessly on social media.

Leaked CCTV footage of Pisith - who released photos of himself seeking medical treatment - strolling without injury in a Thai guesthouse last week also led observers to cry foul.

Witness Ngem Neang said he would tell the court that Puthy “did not hit the police officer to seriously injure him, because the car did not move so fast”.

Din Pearith, a brother of Puthy, said he would plan a protest if justice was not given to his brother. “Every one in the public has the video as evidence, so why do they still accuse my brother?” he said.

Immigration police have maintained Pisith was truly injured and that hospital documents will prove it.

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