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Lawyer for Heng Pov targets ministry official

Lawyer for Heng Pov targets ministry official

THE lawyer for disgraced former municipal police chief Heng Pov is calling on the government to arrest an Interior Ministry official he blames for kidnapping a Korean man in 2005.

Kao Soupha, Heng Pov’s lawyer, wrote a letter to Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sar Kheng in April, urging him to investigate the former head of the ministry’s anti-human trafficking bureau.

Yon Ye, the lawyer said, was involved in extorting US$11,000 from a Korean man, but instead accused Heng Pov of committing the crime.

“I want the ministry to arrest the perpetrator because I am Heng Pov’s lawyer and I have seen many unjust cases brought against him,” Kao Soupha said.

Heng Pov was originally charged with kidnapping Korean Lee Kyong Ho in February 2006, one of a slew of charges that eventually saw the former police chief sentenced to more than 90 years in prison.

However, he was not convicted on the kidnapping charge, his lawyer said, after Lee Kyong Ho testified that Heng Pov never extorted money from him.

Instead, Lee Kyong Ho implicated Yon Ye, Kao Soupha said.

According to documents filed at Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Lee Kyong Ho testified last year that he withdrew US$11,000 from a bank in Phnom Penh, then handed the cash over to Yon Ye, after police raided his house and accused him of human trafficking.

Three years earlier, however, Yon Ye told court prosecutors investigating the case that Heng Pov was responsible.

Khieu Sopheak, the Interior Ministry’s spokesman, said Monday that he had received the letter from Heng Pov’s lawyer, but declined to comment on the issue at length.

“I am now forwarding it to the National Police to take action,” said Khieu Sopheak, who confirmed that Yon Ye was no longer the head of the anti-human trafficking police bureau, but remained employed within the ministry as a police officer.

While awaiting an appeal hearing for an unrelated attempted murder conviction on Friday, Heng Pov said he had witnessed guards at Prey Sar prison, where he is currently incarcerated, beating and torturing other inmates.

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