Kandal Provincial Court yesterday sentenced a former provincial judge and his accomplice to a two-year prison sentence, one year of which was suspended, after convicting them on extortion charges.
Huot Heang, 42, a former judge in Kandal province, was arrested and detained in January by Anti-Corruption Unit officials for extorting a US$5,000 bribe from a cadastral land official, whom he threatened with a lawsuit if he did not pay.
His former clerk, Lim Kumpheak, 48 – who is currently at large – was sentenced in absentia as an accomplice.
Presiding judge Lim Sokuntha told the Post that both men were sentenced to two years, suspended to one.
“For Lim Kumpheak, he’s on the run. We don’t know where he is, but if he’s arrested, he will be put in prison one year from the arrested day,” he added.
Viroch Sophang, the defence lawyer for former judge Heang, said he was not yet sure whether his client wished to appeal.
Mam Sitha, president of the Cambodian Independence Anti-Corruption Committee, applauded the verdict against the bribe-taking judge, but said that the ACU should have gone after the cadastral official as well.
“This corruption case, I see only the receiver is in jail, and the briber is not,” she said. “According to the law, briber and receiver must both be sent [to court].”
To contact the reporter on this story: Chhay Channyda at [email protected]