Disgraced former Phnom Penh Municipal Police Chief Heng Pov yesterday called for a speedy appeal trial before the Supreme Court in two of his cases – which relate to the possession of fake currency and to the illegal detention of a suspect – despite lamenting that he wasn’t able to hire his own lawyer as his assets had been frozen.
Pov, 60, had previously asked the court to delay the trial, claiming he could not trust the assigned lawyer and saying he should instead be allowed to pay a lawyer with his frozen assets.
“But the court keeps rejecting the request . . . If I had the money to hire a lawyer, the lawyer would put all efforts to work for me,” he said.
Among a handful of convictions handed to the former police chief, the charges resulted in a 14-year sentence for the possession of fake US currency and five years for illegal detention, after he locked up an alleged thief even after a court had dismissed his case. In total, Pov has been sentenced to 103 years.
He repeated his earlier claims yesterday that Lieutenant General Mok Chito, the deputy National Police chief, had framed him by planting counterfeit money during a 2006 raid of his house, and that Chito had been responsible for kidnapping.
“No one would leave money outside the house even though the money is fake – they would keep it inside the house,” he said, referring to where the counterfeit bills had been discovered.
Chito yesterday denied Pov’s accusations.
Nou Chantha, Pov’s defence lawyer, argued that his client had not possessed fake money as charged, and that it should have been examined by a bank, not by the Interior Ministry. He added that the second raid on the house following his arrest had been illegal as the police didn’t have a search warrant.
“I would like to ask the court to free my client,” he said. A verdict is due September 27.