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

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Banteay Meanchey gunfight sees 15 Thais arrested, three officers injured

    The Banteay Meanchey Military Police have arrested 15 Thai suspects and their accomplices after a gun battle between two Thai groups caused injuries to three police officers in the early hours of November 21, local authorities said. National Military Police spokesman Eng Hy said that according to

  • PM: Do not defile Tonle Sap swamp forest or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered police to arrest anyone – including government officials – involved with the deforestation of the flooded forests surrounding the Tonle Sap Lake because it is an area important to the spawning of many species of fish, among other reasons. Speaking in a