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Ex-Korea ambassador questioned at Phnom Penh court

Suth Dina, the former ambassador to South Korea, leaves the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday after being questioned.
Suth Dina, the former ambassador to South Korea, leaves the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday after being questioned. Niem Chheng

Ex-Korea ambassador questioned at Phnom Penh court

Former ambassador to South Korea Suth Dina appeared before Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday to face questioning surrounding his handling and management of staffers at the embassy during his tenure.

Dina was charged in April for unlawful exploitation and abuse of power following an Anti-Corruption Unit investigation that claimed he was in possession of $7.2 million in cash, 12.7 kilograms of gold and 500 gems.

Hok Phalla, one of Dina’s lawyers, said yesterday he had requested a postponement of the questioning, but the court proceeded nonetheless.

Dina’s other lawyer, Ang Udom, who attended the interrogation, said Dina was asked about his hiring of embassy staff but not about the vast amounts of wealth he allegedly held.

“The court asked [Dina] about the management of staff, embassy operations, and the money spent on staffing,” said Udom. “I cannot give more details because it may affect the investigation.”

During its investigation, the ACU also claimed that Dina had hired two “unofficial” staffers – Chap Meadey and close aide Son Mon Yong – who were being paid from a $20,000 fund appropriated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“He has rejected all the accusations against him, but let’s see the next step of this investigation,” Udom added.

Investigating judge Leang Samnat could not be reached and court spokesman Ly Sophanna would only confirm Dina had been questioned.

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