Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Release of jailed official illegal: State

Release of jailed official illegal: State

Release of jailed official illegal: State

Initial investigations indicate that officials at Ratanakkiri provincial prison acted illegally in temporarily releasing a jailed ex-police chief on Friday night, an Interior Ministry official said yesterday.

Disgraced former Ratanakkiri police chief Yoeung Baloung – who was sentenced to 13 years in prison in 2006 after being convicted of involvement in illegal logging – allegedly injured three people in a drunken car accident on his way back from a party.

Reports have varied as to the reasons for Yoeung Baloung’s release, but Liv Mauv, deputy director of the Department of Prisons at the Ministry of Interior, said there was “no clear evidence” a court had granted permission for the release.

“It was against the law, which states that the release of an offender must be made according to a court’s judgment,” he said.

Pen Bonnar, provincial coordinator for the rights group Adhoc, has claimed that Yoeung Baloung was released from prison so he could attend a party in O’Chum district.

The release of an offender must be made according to a court’s judgement.

Liv Mauv said provincial prison officials had sent his department a report claiming that Yoeung Baloung was granted permission to leave the prison for two hours on Friday at the request of his family.
According to provincial prison officials, Liv Mauv said, Yoeung Baloung was ill and his family wished to hold a healing ceremony for him.

Claims have been made that, during his release on Friday, Yoeung Baloung drunkenly crashed into three people on a motorbike who were rushed to a hospital in Vietnam with serious injuries.

Provincial traffic police have denied Yoeung Baloung caused the accident, claiming that the driver involved was Katreng Lounh, the 33-year-old husband of Yoeung Baloung’s niece.

Sok Vuthy, an uncle of the victims, said yesterday that the police reports were inaccurate.

“Yeoun Balung was driving alone when the accident took place and his family promised to pay us compensation within three days,” he said.

Sok Vuthy called for the dismissal of provincial prison Director Ngen Nel, who could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Pen Bonnar also called for the dismissal of other prison officials involved with the release, as well as traffic police who he accused of “producing a false report” about the identity of the driver involved in the accident.

Liv Mauv said he did not know if officials at the provincial prison would be punished, citing ongoing investigations.

Provincial prosecutor Leav Sreng said yesterday that he was also investigating the case.

“We are not calling only prison officials for questioning but all involved parties,” he said.


  • Negotiations on EBA being held

    In an effort to defuse tensions, a senior government official said Cambodia is negotiating with the European Union (EU) on the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade deal, which allows the Kingdom to export goods to the 28-member bloc tariff-free. The EU notified Cambodia on October 5

  • Ministers to tackle sea pollutants

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities and members of local communities have collected 77 tonnes of water hyacinth at a Sihanoukville beach, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesperson Or Saroeun said. He told The Post yesterday that the aquatic weeds had been floating along some of the province’s

  • Chinese police escort deported scam suspects

    Ninety-one Chinese nationals accused of extorting money from victims in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam were deported from Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday under the escort of 182 Chinese police personnel. General Department of Immigration head of investigations Ouk Hay Seila told reporters

  • Sam Rainsy, government group set to clash at IPU Geneva meet?

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy has been invited to speak at the General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva, according to a former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawmaker. A government delegation is also set to attend the meeting, a National Assembly press release