Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Prosecutor: I am innocent

Prosecutor: I am innocent

Prosecutor: I am innocent

Top Chan Sereyvuth (centre), a former provincial prosecutor in Pursat province, is helped as he leaves the Appeal Court in Phnom Penh yesterday.

The lawyer for form-er Pursat provincial prosecutor Top Chan Sereyvuth, convicted in May on corruption charges, told an Appeal Court hearing yesterday the wrong man was behind bars and asked for a forestry official to be investigated.

Kea Chhay told the court that forestry official Ri Lay had accepted US$300 from illegal logging suspects during a crackdown on June 24, 2010, but that Top Chan Sereyvuth had not been involved in ordering the extortion.

The former Pursat prosecutor is serving a 19-year sentence after being found guilty of corruption, extortion and illegal detention. He was arrested in November, 2010 along with his drivers, Chhit Vutthy and Ros Samnang, both of whom were found guilty of the same charges and sentenced to 16 and 15 years in jail respectively.

During his trial, it was alleged that Top Chan Sereyvuth ordered his employees to extort money from a man transporting wood through the province.

The plaintiff, Khol Soknha, said at the time that he had been illegally detained by Top Chan Sereyvuth’s staff and forced to pay US$3,000 for  his release.

The former prosecutor’s brother-in-law, Pich Kong You, was found guilty in absentia for his involvement in the crime and ordered to serve 18 years in prison. He remains at large.

In court yesterday, Kea Chhay claimed Ri Lay had worked with Pich Kong Yu exclusively to extort money from illegal logging suspects. “The [extorted] money also involves that forestry official, so [he is] also involved in the allegations,” Kea Chhay said.

The lawyer, who also asked that his client be released due to poor health, told the Post after the hearing that only Pich Kong Yu and Ri Lay had “collected money” from suspects.

Top Chan Sereyvuth said in court that he was with his wife in Phnom Penh on the date of the incident and had received no money.

Ri Lay testified yesterday that Pich Kong Yu was a “representative” of Top Chan Sereyvuth, and that he had detained two people for one night under his orders, with Pich Kong Yu later extorting $3,000 for their release.

Khol Soknha testified yesterday  he did not see Top Chan Sereyvuth during the crackdown and that Pich Kong Yu had ordered his arrest.

Presiding judge Pol Samoeun said a verdict would be issued on March 14.


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australian police investigating death threat against Kem Ley's widow

    Updated: 10:17am, Friday March 23, 2018 Australian authorities on Thursday confirmed they have launched an investigation into a crudely written death threat sent tothe family of slain political analyst Kem Ley and Victoria state MP Hong Lim. The typed letter, reported to Victoria police last week, is

  • Apparel groups including H&M and Gap urge Cambodia garment industry reform, seek meeting with Hun Sen

    A group representing some of the largest apparel brands in the US and Europe – including Gap, H&M and ASOS – expressed “growing concern” on Tuesday over several controversial labour laws and ongoing court cases against unionists described as restrictive and unjust. In an open letter

  • Hun Sen says Montagnards don’t exist in Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen once again attacked ex-opposition leader Sam Rainsy for pledging “autonomy” to Montagnards, claiming – seemingly incorrectly – the ethnic minority does not exist in Cambodia. “We respect all minorities such as Jarai, Steang, Phnong, but we have never had Montagnards,” the premier said