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Former general’s appeal over lockdown breach fails

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Ung Chanthouk walks out of the Supreme Court after an earlier hearing on January 17. Kim Sarom

Former general’s appeal over lockdown breach fails

The Supreme Court on January 24 upheld the 18-month prison sentence handed down to a former two-star general for violating government lockdown orders in April last year. The decision followed a hearing on January 17.

Ung Chanthouk, a former National Police two-star general, was arrested in Phnom Penh on April 16 along with two accomplices for violating the government-imposed lockdown orders aimed at guarding against the community spread of Covid-19.

The former general and his accomplices were caught drinking, singing and playing with the tenants of his rental units – mostly garment factory workers – in Meanchey district’s Stung Meanchey III commune.

During the hearing on January 17, the defence lawyer appealed for clemency, saying his client had taken responsibility for his actions and turned himself in for arrest. The three, he noted, did not attempt to flee, knowing that this would increase the risk of spreading Covid-19.

However, a Supreme Court judge said the lower court’s decision was just.

“After reaching a unanimous agreement, the trial chamber of the Supreme Court has decided to uphold the decision made by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court of Appeal,” the judge said, announcing the verdict.

On July 29, Chanthouk and his two accomplices, Lay Phearun and Kok Khy, who both were sentenced to one year in jail, were also ordered to pay a fine of five million riel ($1,250) each. They were charged under articles 3, 4, and 11 of the law on the control of Covid-19 and other contagious diseases, which was enacted in March 2021.

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