Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Convicted militants appeal

Convicted militants appeal

Chea Sarann (left), leader of the Sovannaphumi Army Movement, and a member of the movement, Chum Vichey, exit Phnom Penh’s Appeal Court.
Chea Sarann (left), leader of the Sovannaphumi Army Movement, and a member of the movement, Chum Vichey, exit Phnom Penh’s Appeal Court. HENG CHIVOAN

Convicted militants appeal

Six men who were convicted for attempting to launch a paramilitary force aimed at overthrowing the government yesterday appealed their 15- to 17-year sentences.

The group, former members of the defunct opposition Sam Rainsy Party, claimed to have been offered $20 million from the Taiwanese government to fund the coup.

But though some of them confessed during the October 2011 trial, all appeared at the Appeal Court yesterday to call for acquittals.

One, Liv Sok Sovann, 51, claimed in court yesterday that he had been a secret government agent employed in 2010 to spy on the group and was swept up in the arrests a year later.

Chea Sarann, 51, leader of the so-called Sovannaphumi Army, told the court yesterday that he had no intention to overthrow the government and had joined strictly for the money.

“They said do it, and they will pay. I just wanted the money and did not aim to topple the government with four or five friends. The appeal was made because I am not satisfied with the decision of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, which charged me too harshly,” he said.

Sarann has maintained that a man named Thab The had masterminded the movement and promised him the Taiwanese government would give them the money if they formed the army. But the “army” was always limited to the six, Sarann, who helped establish it in 2006, said.

Phlot Vy, 61; Chum Vichey, 44; Poth Phorn, 48; and Yorm Hev, 43, were also each sentenced to between 15 and 17 years in October 2011 for forming an illegal armed forces movement. They have denied all involvement.

Prosecutor Im Sophan advised the judge to drop the charges against Phorn and Hev and review the rest of the convicted.

A verdict is scheduled for October 16.


  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,