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Top cop told to catch Bandith

Minister of Interior Sar Kheng sent a letter to the National Police last week asking it to step up its search for Chhouk Bandith, the former Bavet town governor convicted of shooting three garment workers at a factory protest last year.

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak told the Post yesterday that Kheng had sent a letter to Neth Savoeun, the National Police chief, asking him to comply with a court verdict that in June sentenced Bandith to 18 months in prison for unintentional violence.

The former governor was absent during court proceedings in Svay Rieng province and has been at large since then.

“Now we are looking for Chhouk Bandith, and we will keep it secret if someone gives us the information about where he is,” Sopheak said.

Cambodian Center for Human Rights president Ou Virak said the fact police are being ordered to catch a convicted criminal “reflects the sad state of the Cambodian police”.

“It is an indication that Sar Kheng has the will to catch Chhouk Bandith, and at the same time, it would indicate that the National Police do not have the will to do their job,” he said.

Rights groups have repeatedly argued that unintentional violence was too light a charge, asserting that the shooting was a clear case of attempted murder, as Bandith fired directly into a crowd of thousands of workers seeking better pay.

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