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‘Drunken driver’ granted bail after PM’s nudge

Ung Kol Sanik is escorted to the driver’s side of a car after being released on bail
Ung Kol Sanik is escorted to the driver’s side of a car after being released on bail last week. Heng Chivoan

‘Drunken driver’ granted bail after PM’s nudge

Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday said that he had personally requested that a woman charged with swerving her car into two of the bodyguards outside his home be released on bail, an action activists pointed to as yet another example of the premier interfering with the country’s judiciary.

At the inauguration of the Neak Loeung Bridge, Hun Sen revealed that he phoned Phnom Penh Municipal Court president Taing Sunlay after receiving information on the case of Ung Kol Sanik.

Kol Sanik is alleged to have drunkenly rammed her BMW into bodyguards Yin Chantho and Seung Socheath, as well as four motorbikes, during the early hours of April 1.

Sanik was bailed on April 3 under the court’s supervision.

“I said … she is wrong and it is true, but you [Sunlay] can do it in accordance with court procedures and you should release her on bail,” he said. “He said, ‘Yes, that is the normal procedure’.”

Sunlay’s predecessor, Ang Maltey, was removed from his post in mid-February, only hours after Hun Sen had publicly called for the Justice Ministry to investigate him.

Hun Sen added that he didn’t want people to think he used his position to “detain and jail her”.

Ny Chakrya, head of local rights group Adhoc, said the court should be allowed to deal with the case on its own.

“The fact that Hun Sen asked the court president to release her is proof that he has influence on the court,” he said. “He has no right to ask the court, because it is the court’s case.”

Taing Sunlay could not be reached for comment.

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