Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The rise and fall of Heng Pov

The rise and fall of Heng Pov

The rise and fall of Heng Pov


2003, April 23 - The body of Phnom Penh Municipal Court Judge Sok Sethamony after he was gunned down in his car while waiting at the intersection of Street 63 and Sihanouk Boulevard. An arrest warrant has been issued for Heng Pov in connection with the slaying.

1980s - Joined the police force in the Commune 4 Police - now called Toul

Kork Police Department. Soon had problems with his boss and was demoted for a period.

1990s - Married the daughter of a Vietnamese adviser. Was transferred to the

Criminal Police Department after UNTAC.

1993 - Shot in the leg by a bandit in Kampong Speu.

1995 - As chief of the anti-drug counterfeiting and art theft bureau, announces

that over one million counterfeit US$100 banknotes have been seized since the 1992

election. In January alone 29,500 fake US$100 notes - which he said were almost perfect

replicas - were confiscated.

1998, March - Over 100 military policeman surround Pov's house - just meters

from the Heart of Darkness bar - and spray it with AK-47 fire. A Kandal court had

the day before sentenced a military policeman - arrested by Pov in January - to ten

years in prison for smuggling six tons of cannabis.

1998, June - Koh Santepheap editor Thong Uy Pang survives an assassination

attempt. Pov is in charge of one of the three investigations into the crime. Mok

Chito, Chief of Phnom Penh Immigration Police, seeks Pov's arrest claiming Heng Veng,

a member of Pov's anti-drug unit, shot Uy Pang and his bodyguard. Chito produces

substantial evidence - including witness statements, travel documents, and a Vietnamese

hospital certificate - that he claims proves Pov accompanied Veng, who was allegedly

injured during the assassination attempt, to Vietnam for medical treatment. Heng

Pov denies all charges and says he will file defamation cases against Chito and Uy

Pang. Pov says the trip to Vietnam was a pre-arranged official visit. Chito is suspended

during the affair.

1998, November - Mok Chito sends a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen in which

he lays out all the evidence implicating Pov in the Uy Pang assassination attempt.

"I found out that the murders are the men of Heng Pov and Heng Pov himself,"

the letter said.

2003, April 23 - Sok Sethamony is gunned down in his car while waiting at

the intersection of Street 63 and Sihanouk Boulevard. Three investigations are launched

- by Ministry of Interior, Municipal Police and Military Police - one of which is

headed by Pov.

2006, January 11 - Pov is promoted to the rank of Major General and given

the position of Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Interior, in addition

to his current position as Personal Adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen.

January 13 - Heng Pov removed and replaced as the city's top police official

by Touch Naruth.

February - Heng Vuthy, deputy chief of the Municipal Police criminal section and

long-time associate of Pov's is arrested and charged with the 2003 killing of Sok

Sethamony. He is detained and interrogated along with several of his subordinates.

June 11 - Hang Vuthy and 12 other prisoners escape from Prey Sar Prison.

July 21 - Six former Phnom Penh Municipal Police officers - including Ly Rasy,

a known close associate of Pov's - sentenced to 12 years in prison for their roles

in the torture and killing of a woman in police custody in 2005.

July 23 - Pov flees Cambodia.

July 24 - Hok Lundy welcomes the sentencing of Ly Rasy and the other police

officers and claims it is testament to Cambodia's commitment to eradicating corruption

and torture within the police force. Lawyers and relatives of the convicted men claim

it was a show trial and that the men are being punished for disputes among police


July 28 - Pov is officially stripped of his positions as adviser to Hun Sen

and Undersecretary of State at the Interior Ministry.

July 31 - Pov's house in Takhmau District, Kandal Province, is raided by police.

They seize nine firearms including high-powered assault rifles and $30,000 in counterfeit

US currency. An arrest warrant for Pov is issued by Hok Lundy. He is wanted in connection

with the 1998 attempted assassination of Uy Pang, the 2003 assassination of Sok Sethamony

and the 2005 attempted assassinations of National Military Police Commander Sao Sokha,

Phnom Penh Municipal Court Prosecutor Ouk Savouth, and an Electricité du Cambodge


August 3 - Authorities freeze Pov's $1 million Cambodian bank account to investigate

whether the money was gained through criminal enterprise.

August 4 - Eight men are arrested at Heng Pov's Kandal house. Heng Pov still

at large. Five of the men are charged with illegal possession of weapons.

August 7 - Pov is seeking political asylum overseas. He makes a statement

in which he claims it is his knowledge of high-level corruption and human rights

abuse - combined with his commitment to democracy and unwillingness to turn a blind

eye to such behavior - that has brought the wrath of the government down on him.

August 9 - Pov flees from Singapore. Pov's lawyer, David Chen, told the Post

he was flying to Australia on the evening of August 9. Local media reported on August

10 that Chen said "Pov is on his way to a third country, the name of which you

will find out in due course. I will be flying to join him in that third country tonight."

The Australian Embassy in Phnom Penh declined comment on Pov's application for asylum

"as a matter of practice."


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