Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Police have different answers on Chantha

Police have different answers on Chantha

Police have different answers on Chantha

Police officials in Svay Rieng province are offering widely varying stories as to the legal status of Bavet town deputy police chief Sar Chantha, with one yesterday confirming his arrest and ongoing detention in connection with a 2012 shooting and another claiming ignorance of even a warrant for that arrest.

The warrant in question was filed by Svay Rieng provincial prosecutor Hing Bunchea earlier this month, following Chantha’s December conviction for illegal weapons possession. The conviction was in connection with a February 2012 incident in which Bavet’s then-governor Chhouk Bandith fired live rounds into a crowd of protesters at the Kaoway Sports factory, injuring three women. Bandith remains at large.

Svay Rieng deputy police chief Khiev Sokhorm yesterday confirmed that Chantha had been detained for some time.

“[Chantha] is being questioned at the provincial police department, where he has been for the past three days,” Sokhorm said, before declining to comment further.

However, Bavet town police chief Keo Kong offered a different version of events, insisting he had not even seen a warrant for Chantha’s arrest, and maintaining that Chantha’s presence at provincial police headquarters was work-related.

“I sent him to the provincial police office for a one-week training session,” Kong said. “I do not remember the day he went there, but it was last week.”

Bunchea, the prosecutor who signed the arrest warrant, yesterday said he had made inquiries about the arrest, but had not heard from police regarding whether the warrant had been executed. “I have not received any information yet,” said Bunchea, who added that he had checked in on Monday.

Chantha’s legal status is a mystery even to his attorney, Mon Keo Siven, who said he has been unable to find anyone who can enlighten him as to his client’s whereabouts or legal status. Keo Siven said information about his client is being closely guarded.

“I could not get in touch with the court, Chantha or his family to see if he has been arrested,” Keo Siven said yesterday. “It seems that all the information related to him is being hidden.”

Such disparities of information between law enforcement institutions is not uncommon in Cambodia, Pech Pisey, director of programs at Transparency International Cambodia, said yesterday.

“There is an issue of conspiracy and keeping information from the public,” Pisey said. “Usually the authorities try to hide information from them.”

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SEAN TEEHAN

MOST VIEWED

  • Ministry requests school opening

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Thursday said it would request a decision from Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow a small number of schools to reopen next month. Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said if the request is granted, higher-standard schools will reopen

  • Kingdom eyes India FTA, China deal set for August

    Cambodia is studying the possibility of establishing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with India to open a new market with the second-largest regional economy. This comes as an FTA with China is scheduled to be signed next month while similar negotiations with South Korea

  • Judge lands in court after crashing into alleged thief

    Sen Sok district police on Thursday sent a Koh Kong Provincial Court judge to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on manslaughter charges after he crashed his car into a woman riding a motorbike on Wednesday, killing her. District police chief Hour Meng Vang told The

  • Gov’t to boost Siem Reap tourism

    The Ministry of Tourism released the results of an inter-ministerial committee meeting concerning Siem Reap province’s Tourism Development Master Plan for 2020-2035 on Wednesday, revealing the government’s plan to improve the overall tourist landscape there. The meeting was attended by Minister of Tourism

  • Residents ordered to remove structures on Phnom Penh’s canal

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng has ordered authorities to act against the perpetrators who built houses along the Luo 5 canal in Meanchey district. The municipal administration plans to create a committee to solve the matter. The order was given on Wednesday while Sreng led

  • ‘On the offensive’: Cambodia to load up on loans to stimulate economy

    As the dust settles on the economy, Cambodia comes to grips with what needs to be done to turn the economy around, starting with a big shopping list for credit ‘We are going on the offensive,” Vongsey Vissoth, Ministry of Economy and Finance permanent secretary

  • Government set to make up for cancelled April holiday

    The government is set to make up for a five-day Khmer New Year holiday late this month or early next month. The holiday was earlier cancelled due to the onset of Covid-19. The announcement is expected on Friday as the government is studying a range

  • Families told to register for cash handouts

    The government has called on poor families to apply to commune authorities for evaluation to receive financial support during the Covid-19 crisis. A $300 million budget has been planned for implementation within a year. Ministry of Economy and Finance secretary of state Vongsey Visoth said this

  • Crumbling prices, rent ruffle condo segment

    The prolonged decline in international arrivals to Cambodia intensified by renewed Covid-19 fears has driven down condominium sales prices and rental rates in Phnom Penh, a research report said. CBRE Cambodia, the local affiliate of US commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE Group

  • Over $3M in traffic fines collected in two months

    Traffic police officers collected over $3 million in fines throughout the Kingdom during the past two months when officers strictly enforced the law in accordance with a May sub-decree, officials said. As incentives, law enforcement officers received between 200,000 and two million riel ($50 to $500) each. The figures