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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - US coup leader to do more time

US coup leader to do more time

Chhun Yasith, a Cambodian-American man who received life in prison in the United States last year for attempting in 2000 to overthrow the Cambodian government, has reportedly had an additional 37 months added to his prison term for tax evasion.

The Contra Costa Times reported on Tuesday that Chhun Yasith “admitted operating a service that filed false tax returns for numerous taxpayers, resulting in a loss [for the US government] of more than US$400,000” in addition to his role as leader of the “Cambodian Freedom Fighters” militia group.

Chhum Yasith received his original sentence last year after being arrested in 2005 for organising a November 2000 attack on Government buildings in Phnom Penh that left at least eight dead and 14 injured.

Government troops quickly quelled the CFF’s ill-coordinated coup attempt, code named “Operation Volcano” and planned from Chhun Yasith’s California accounting firm.

In April 2008, a court in Los Angeles found him guilty of violating the US Neutrality Act, which outlaws military operations against nations with which the US is at peace.

Cambodian officials praised his sentencing last year, with Foreign Minister Hor Namhong branding the CFF plot “a clear terrorist act”.

In January, military police arrested Brigadier General Samith Virak, charging him with forming an illegal armed force and trafficking weapons. At the time, national military police commander Sao Sokha said Samith Virak had also been arrested in 2001 on suspicion of being involved with the CFF, but had been released on bail and never brought to trial.

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