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Adoptive father loses custody

Adoptive father loses custody

The Supreme Court yesterday upheld a ruling that an eight-year-old girl be returned to her biological mother by the man who adopted her.

Presiding judge Dith Munty said Men Sovan Sreypich had been adopted by Men Chan Sokha, 53, and his wife, Tieng Vannary, in 2004 from Soy Norng.

When Tieng Vannary passed away in 2009 from cancer, Soy Norng asked that her daughter be returned to her, he said. Men Chan Sokha, who was accompanied by his adopted daughter, testified that he wished to retain custody of Men Sovan Sreypich.

“I have adopted this baby since she was seven days old. My wife and I…spent a lot of time in caring and looking after her. We loved her very much. And she also loved us very much,” he told the court.

“Since she was with me….she has been cared for by me. She was sent to school and I have the ability to feed and support her to be a good, educated person in the future,” he added.

Luong Sokhan, Soy Norng’s lawyer, said Men Sovan Srey Pich was Soy Norng’s third daughter.

Tieng Vannary, who was Men Chan Sokha’s “secret” second wife, had approached his client while she was leaving the hospital and carrying the baby in front of the Royal Palace, he said.  

She paid Soy Norng US$950 and promised to support her and all her children, he added.

“Since adoptive mother Tieng Vannary died in 2009, her adoptive father has not taken good care of her because he has been busy with work. He brought her to stay with his friends,” he said.

Men Chan Sokha also had five children with his first wife, to whom he was still married, and would not be able to provide the support he promised, he added.

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