Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ex-Bavet gov Bandith ends prison sentence

Ex-Bavet gov Bandith ends prison sentence

Former Bavet town governor Chhouk Bandith walks out the the Court of Appeal in Phnom Penh following a 2013 hearing.
Former Bavet town governor Chhouk Bandith walks out the the Court of Appeal in Phnom Penh following a 2013 hearing. Heng Chivoan

Ex-Bavet gov Bandith ends prison sentence

Former Bavet town governor Chhouk Bandith walked free from Prey Sar prison yesterday, after serving his 18-month sentence for shooting three unarmed garment workers during a 2012 protest, a sentence decried by rights groups and the victims themselves as too light.

“He was released today … because he has already served his prison term. There was no pardon or sentence reduction,” said Sorn Keo, of the Ministry of Interior’s Prisons Department.

The shooting injured three female workers, with Bandith initially denying responsibility despite numerous witnesses saying he’d fired into the crowd.

He was eventually sentenced in 2013 on the charge of “unintentional violence”, a verdict that drew widespread criticism for its perceived leniency.

The former governor vanished following the verdict, avoiding prison for two years before finally turning himself in after Prime Minister Hun Sen personally demanded his capture.

Moeun Tola, director of labour rights NGO Central, yesterday maintained that the conviction was too light and accused the court of political manipulation.

“He should have been charged with attempted murder and punished more because he took out a gun to shoot at the workers intentionally,” Tola said.

“[Bandith] did not try to answer about the case, but explained to officials about his dedication to the CPP. We know the court officials such as the prosecutor and judge are members of CPP. The court would not hand down a serious conviction to their fellow party member,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia’s image problem

    In opening remarks at a recent event, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luy David said information can be a double-edged sword. He told a European Institute of Asian Studies (EIAS) briefing seminar that the media has unfairly presented

  • PM Hun Sen says dangers averted

    Delivering a campaign speech from his home via Facebook Live on Thursday, caretaker Prime Minister Hun Sen said his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) had carried the country through danger in its latest mandate. He was specifically referring to the threat of a “colour revolution”

  • Bumpy road for local ride apps

    Ride-hailing services seem to have grown into a dominant player in the capital’s transportation sector. Relatively unknown and little used in the Kingdom at the beginning of this year, services like PassApp, Grab and ExNet are now commonplace on Phnom Penh streets. However, the

  • Hun Sen lays out party’s platform

    Caretaker Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday credited liberating Cambodia from the Khmer Rouge as among the reasons why people will vote for his ruling Cambodian People Party (CPP) in the July 29 national elections. Hun Sen, who has held the reins of power in Cambodia