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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tycoon fires back with suit

Tycoon fires back with suit

A Ministry of Interior official charged in civil court with defrauding lenders out of more than $750,000 filed his own charges last week, issuing a defamation complaint against his accusers’ attorney.

Major-General Hem Theng, a tycoon and deputy director of the Ministry of Interior’s immigration police, last week sought an injunction in General-Prosecutor’s Office in the Court of Appeal against attorney Kouy Thunna, who represents plaintiffs Heng Sokmeng, Srun Kimkhun and Yim Praksean.

“I was a victim of critical attacks from newspapers again and again, which quoted Mr Kouy Thunna,” Theng wrote in the complaint.

According to the complaint filed in Phnom Penh Municipal Court against Theng, he, along with his wife and mother-in-law, borrowed $753,212 from the plaintiffs at 5 per cent interest rate to start a gravel manufacturing business in 2009. The group allegedly gave the plaintiffs more than $233,000 in bad cheques in an attempt to cover some of the debt.

But according to Thunna, Article 41 of the penal code, which stipulates that a case cannot travel to a higher court before it is resolved in municipal court, makes it illegal for a defamation case against him to be heard.

“Oknha Hem Theng does not know the law,” Thunna said. “The [defamation] case is still being processed … and the prosecutor has not yet decided whether to charge me or drop it.”

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