Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - MPs beaten outside National Assembly in 2015 appeal

MPs beaten outside National Assembly in 2015 appeal

Opposition lawmaker Nhay Chamroeun is kicked outside the National Assembly in 2015. Three Bodyguard Unit members were given suspended sentences for the vicious attack, but will appear before the Appeal Court on Friday. Photo supplied
Opposition lawmaker Nhay Chamroeun is kicked outside the National Assembly in 2015. Three Bodyguard Unit members were given suspended sentences for the vicious attack, but will appear before the Appeal Court on Friday. Photo supplied

MPs beaten outside National Assembly in 2015 appeal

Two opposition lawmakers beaten up outside the National Assembly in 2015 will have their appeal heard this Friday – nearly two years after the three Bodyguard Unit members responsible for the attack were given mostly suspended sentences by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

The three bodyguards – Mao Hoeung, Sot Vanny and Chhay Sarith – were part of a group of more than a dozen people that assaulted Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmakers Nhay Chamroeun and Kong Saphea in October 2015, pulling them out of their cars near the National Assembly and violently kicking and punching the duo.

In May 2016, the trio were convicted by the Phnom Penh court and sentenced to four years in prison, but with three years suspended. They were also asked to pay each lawmaker $9,800 in compensation.

The two lawmakers will not attend the Appeal Court hearing on Friday and will instead be represented by their lawyers, said Ket Khy, Saphea’s attorney.

“They cannot accept it and that is why they appealed to the Appeal Court. They cannot accept both the punishment and the compensation,” he said, also complaining about the delay in holding the trial.

Speaking from Canada, Saphea said there was little hope the court would rule in his and Chamroeun’s favour as long as it was not independent and remained under the government’s control.

“If the court was independent, I would attend. But in the current situation, the court works on double standards and we cannot trust it,” he said.

The three bodyguards could not be reached yesterday. However, months after their release in December, Vanny and Hoeun were promoted from lieutenant colonel to colonel according to a November 2016 document.

Chhay Sarith (left) and Sot Vanny exit a prisoner transport earlier this year at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.
Chhay Sarith (left) and Sot Vanny exit a prisoner transport in 2016 at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. Pha Lina

Reacting to the delayed proceedings, Justice Ministry spokesman Chin Malin yesterday claimed the complicated nature of the case could have led to the delay. However, in the same breath he accused the two former lawmakers of filing a politically motivated appeal with the aim of affecting the court’s procedures.

“Their intention is not the intention to seek justice, but the intention is to gain political interests,” he said.

He claimed that Saphea’s criticism of the court showed that the former lawmaker was not interested in appealing the decision but only wanted to attack the court system.

Saphea rebutted this, saying there would be no need to criticise the courts if they worked independently, and suggesting the Cambodian court system often worked in arbitrary ways.

“I, who am the victim, can become the criminal, and they might arrest and jail me this time,” he said.


  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.

  • Gov’t says tourism recovers slightly despite pandemic

    The Ministry of Tourism and the Phnom Penh municipal administration have recognised 33 tourism businesses in the capital which have consistently implemented safety measures for tourists and adhered to the code of conduct issued by the ministry. Recently, the ministry announced that tourism businesses had to

  • Mull ASEAN border opening, PM urges

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that ASEAN launch a scenario for gradually reopening cross-border travel and trade between countries in the region. He said ASEAN has had more success combating Covid-19 compared to other regions. The prime minister’s request was made at the

  • Ministry reports 11 new Covid-19 cases, reiterates vigilance

    Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng has urged people to continue practising virus prevention techniques after 11 people tested positive for Covid-19 within two days after arriving in the Kingdom. Speaking on Sunday, Bun Heng stressed the importance of washing hands, wearing masks or scarves when

  • Nine on Indonesia flight Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health on Saturday confirmed nine more imported cases of Covid-19. The nine ‒ eight Cambodians and one Indonesian, aged 22 to 26 ‒ arrived in Cambodia on Thursday via a direct flight from Indonesia and are receiving treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hostipal in Phnom Penh.

  • Kingdom’s financial sector healthy

    Cambodia's financial sector remains on a sustainable growth path despite the Covid-19 pandemic squeezing crucial industries, National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) governor Chea Chanto said. Tourism, garments and footwear have borne the brunt of the Covid-19 impact, he said, whereas the financial and agriculture sectors

  • Vietnam told to remove border tents

    Kandal provincial governor Kong Sophoan has ordered local authorities to prohibit the construction of buildings in areas bordering Cambodia and to report any irregularities immediately. Recently, Vietnamese officials removed another seven tents from the border area with Cambodia. His remarks were made on Wednesday afternoon

  • Migrant workers set to return from Malaysia

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation confirmed on Thursday that 158 Cambodian students and migrant workers will fly home from Malaysia on Friday morning. This is the second flight to bring Cambodians home from Malaysia. A ministry notice said Malaysia Airlines Flight MH754 will