Prime Minister Hun Manet has instructed the Ministry of Justice to consider an amendment to the Kingdom’s Penal Code by offering stiffer penalties for aggravating circumstances in violent cases, such as the one including disgraced former Oknha Srey Sina.

The instruction was in response to a comment he noted on his June 25 social media post, which called for the court to pay close attention to the strict implementation of the law to find justice for the victims and their families, with no form of intervention.

The prime minister said that while there were many comments on his post, one in particular caught his eye.

The comment, by the holder of the Vongchan Reaksmeidara account, who claims to be a law student, was both legal and reasonable, he noted.

The law student suggested that there is a gap in the current law, as it does not address aggravating circumstances in relation to crimes like the recent shooting, which was widely condemned by the public and saw a wave of angry reactions.

“Based on this comment, and as the justice ministry is currently examining possible amendments to the Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure, I have assigned Koeut Rith, Minister of Justice, to prepare an amendment to the Penal Code in the future, by adding clauses for aggravated circumstances, such as the shooting mentioned above,” said the prime minister.

“We cannot punish present-day perpetrators beyond what the existing laws or provisions allow, but in the future we can amend the law to increase the punishment for such offending,” he added.

According to Vongchan Reaksmeidara, the current code has a large loophole that needs to be amended and updated, especially from Articles 199 to 205.

“I think that failing to allow more severe punishment is an obstacle to providing justice to the people and an obstacle in the correct enforcement of the law, especially in violent cases,” said the post.

It noted that in footage of the brutal murder, former tycoon Srey Sina pulled out a gun and shot the victims like they were animals, one after another. 

Although the victims fell down bleeding in front of him, he did not appear disturbed by their suffering and continued to fire, even into the bodies of those already wounded. Instead of recognising their pain, he appeared to show no remorse, added the post, suggesting that the man’s conduct was “inhuman”.

Since there is no mention in the law of aggravating circumstances, it allows the perpetrators of the worst possible crimes to escape the amount of punishment they should receive, it continued.

“Based on the behaviour of some criminals, penalties seem less than appropriate to their guilt. This gives the worst offenders the chance to exploit the law and escape the punishment they deserve,” it added.