Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Government facing scrutiny after official gets light punishment for firing gun




Government facing scrutiny after official gets light punishment for firing gun

Interior Ministry Secretary of State Pol Lim’s son, Lim Chamnan. Fresh News
Interior Ministry Secretary of State Pol Lim’s son, Lim Chamnan. Fresh News

Government facing scrutiny after official gets light punishment for firing gun

Authorities are facing public backlash over the light punishment Lim Chamnan – son of Interior Ministry Secretary of State Pol Lim – is facing after being caught on video firing a gun on a busy street while fleeing a car accident on Saturday.

Chamnan, deputy chief of Kandal’s Provincial Traffic Department, was temporarily suspended from his post and had his gun confiscated. He received a warning letter from National Police Chief Neth Savoeun but was not charged for shooting his weapon in public.

The mild punishment slapped on Chamnan has sparked public criticism.

Soeng Chan, 32, a tuk-tuk driver, said he felt the police’s decision was “not fair and just”.

“If the police were complying with the law, he would be arrested and put in jail. But because they consider his father” he is receiving light punishment, he said.

Another man, who asked to remain anonymous, compared the situation to the case of three members of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Personal Bodyguard Unit who were convicted for assaulting two opposition lawmakers, only to be promoted after serving just 12 months of a four-year sentence.

“It is like beating the lawmakers, and they confessed that they beat them [but] after that they were promoted . . . It is the same case; he came to confess and received little administrative punishment, and he will be promoted,” he said, adding that “the poor would never attain justice no matter how hard we protest”.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A screenshot of a video in which a police official can be seen attempting to flee the scene of an accident, before firing his gun when the vehicle attempted to pursue him in Phnom Penh last week. Fresh News

Some have also taken the criticism to social media. A Facebook user who goes by the name Hour Darcy wrote on Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Facebook page yesterday asking: “Where is the law?”

Another user, Seav Leng, posted: “The culture of exception and understanding for wealthy and high-ranking officer families is still a concerning issue in the country. If law enforcement is not reinforced equally, what is the rule of law?”

Kandal Police Chief Eav Chamroeun did not explain yesterday why Chamnan was receiving a light administrative punishment for his offence, instead citing law that appeared to show that the officer’s actions warranted a stronger rebuke.

“For the use of weapons stated in National Police Regulations No006, in Article 8, Point 2.3, demotion of rank or removal from post will be enforced for a police officer who shoots a weapon without an order or a legitimate reason,” he said. The regulations say sanctions are at the discretion of superiors.

Despite the regulations, Chamnan would only be fired from his job if he commits the offence “a second time”, Chamrouen said.

“We have already requested that the general write a warning letter . . . When there is a second time, he will be fired.”

According to Affiliated Network for Social Accountability Executive Director San Chey, the exemption from a criminal charge is not justified.

Legal expert Sok Sam Oeun said that under the arms control law, even people authorised to own a gun are liable to criminal prosecution if they fire their weapon without a valid reason.

“If you fire a gun without reason, it is illegal shooting and a crime. You would get jail time and a fine,” he said.

The director of the Public Order Department at the Interior Ministry, Run Roth Veasna, maintained yesterday that the ministry “implements the law on all people including powerful sons and poor sons”.

Justice Ministry spokesman Chin Malin said “it is up to the relevant authorities whether to remove or suspend” Chamnan from his post, adding that they “do not know what the incident was like [because] they only saw through the video”.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • ‘Bad news is an investor’s best friend’ – unlocking investment potential in Cambodia

    It is time to shop. Economic woes provide good pickings for investors if they know where to look The poem If, written by English Nobel laureate poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling for his son circa 1895, is widely perceived as fatherly advice for John who would

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped

  • Kingdom, China rebut basis for US sanctions

    The Council for the Development of Cambodia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Tianjin Union Investment Development Group Co Ltd (Tianjin) have responded to US sanctions on Union Development Group Co Ltd (UDG), a Chinese-owned company currently developing the sprawling $3.8 billion Dara

  • PM requests Russia’s Covid vaccine

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that Russia provide Cambodia with its Covid-19 vaccine after the former announced it planned on mass vaccinating its population next month. The request came on Thursday through the prime minister’s Facebook page as he met with Anatoly Borovik,

  • Influenza breaks out in eight provinces

    Nearly 600 people have been infected with influenza in eight provinces in the past month, Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said. The ministry is advising extreme caution. A report released by Vandine on Saturday said the Ministry of Health observed transmissions of influenza between August 15