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Judge orders released robbery suspects back to court

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The two robbery suspects, Police

Judge orders released robbery suspects back to court

Kampong Speu provincial investigating judge Men Vannak has issued a letter ordering the authorities to bring two robbery suspects to court.

The summons was made after deputy prosecutor Chat Soraksmey had released the two on bail under the pretext of the case lacking sufficient evidence.

Dated February 12 and seen by The Post on Tuesday, the letter “orders the authorities to bring No Pon, 48, and Ay Ing – also known as Oeun Mao, 39 – to Kampong Speu provincial court for questioning”.

Vannak told The Post on Tuesday that he had no idea “to what extent the authorities would take action”.

Provincial police chief Sam Samuon said on Tuesday that he had not obtained the letter, asserting that when he does, his team will act accordingly.

Responding to allegations that the police had freed the suspects with their own authorisation, Samuon said such a release is not allowed by law.

“Police do not have the right to issue a release, and if the journalists think otherwise, they can write however they like,” he said.

In the wake of the claim, the provincial police have released a letter clarifying the allegation.

Dated January 7, the letter stated that on January 2, police obtained a piece of information about vehicle theft, leading to the arrest of Pon and Mao by Oudong district police.

They were sent to the criminal office at the provincial police station for further legal action, it said.

Upon questioning, the letter continued, police did not find enough evidence, so they sent a report to Soraksmey, the deputy prosecutor, requesting the suspects’ release, which she eventually approved.

It also said the provincial court later issued a statement explaining the procedure for the officers to proceed with the case and saying that in the case of incomplete evidence, the suspects must be released.

The court statement dated January 5 said preliminary investigation results showed that the suspects had stolen motorbikes in Preah Sihanouk province. However, it said local police in Kampong Speu did not have enough evidence to charge them.

The provincial prosecutor then examined and signed the police report – dated January 4 – after which they said the police must “find someone to sign a contract, guaranteeing that the suspects did not violate the law”, the statement said.

Provincial court spokesperson Sorn Vireak said on Tuesday that they had asked the police to resume the investigation after the latter confirmed that there was insufficient evidence for the case.

Vireak also noted that the suspects had not been brought to court before they were released.

Swift News on Tuesday reported that the Kampong Speu police claimed the suspects had confessed to stealing motorbikes in Preah Sihanouk, but their confession was disregarded because at the time, the police were looking for suspects of car theft in Oudong district’s Preah Sre commune.

The police concluded that Pon and Mao had not committed any crime.

The report also said, quoting Rath Chantrea, Pon’s wife, that the release of the suspects was not due to police pity, but because she had spent $6,000 for their bail.

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