Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rong Chhun denied bail

Rong Chhun denied bail

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Civil society activists gathered outside the court calling for Rong Chhun’s release and the dropping of all charges against him. Hean Rangsey

Rong Chhun denied bail

The Appeal Court on Wednesday denied the bail request of union leader Rong Chhun who has been charged with “incitement to cause social unrest” in relation to a border issue.

Chhun, the president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions, was arrested on the night of July 31 after he went to meet residents in Trapaing Phlong commune, in Tbong Khmum province’s Ponhea Kraek district.

A resident claimed Cambodia had lost land to Vietnam and the Vietnamese authorities had pushed residents 200m into Cambodian land.

On August 1, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court charged him with incitement to cause social unrest under Article 495 of the Criminal Code.

The Appeal Court’s Wednesday decision came as roughly 20 civil society activists gathered outside the court appealing for his release and the dropping of all charges against him.

Chuong Chou Ngy, one of Chhun’s lawyers, said outside the courtroom after a two-hour hearing that he and his two co-lawyers – Lor Chunthy and Sam Sokong – will discuss with Chhun whether to take the case to the Supreme Court.

“The Appeal Court ruling is not correct because it harms the rights and freedom of Rong Chhun,” he said, adding the decision amounted to the courts’ support for judicial police’s “arbitrary” act.

This, he said, is because Chhun’s arrest ran counter to the Criminal Code that prohibits the arrest of suspects at night, unless in case of flagrante delicto (in blazing offence) – a legal term used to indicate that a criminal has been caught in the act of committing an offence.

Presiding judge Khun Leang Meng could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Chou Ngy emphasised that the Appeal Court had tried Chhun in two cases at the same time. The first case is the detention warrant and the second is the case of the bail request.

He cited Chhun as telling the judge he had done nothing wrong when he went to check border poles Nº 114-119 in Tbong Khmum province as a representative of the Cambodia Watchdog Council (CWC).

After the field visit, Chhun posted his findings on social media, urging the government to strengthen territorial integrity and return the 60ha in question to the Cambodian people.

The authorities then accused him of inciting protests as his social media posts implied Vietnam had encroached on Cambodia’s land.

Chou Ngy said: “He went to see the area because he wanted to find out the truth after residents complained that Cambodia had lost about 60ha [to Vietnam].

“Chhun told the court he didn’t cause social unrest at all. His actions are meant only to serve society.”


  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Phnom Penh curfew starts today

    A two-week curfew from 8pm to 5am starts today in Phnom Penh, a day after a sub-decree detailing administrative measures to contain Covid-19 was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Travelling in Phnom Penh is temporally banned between 8pm and 5am,” said Phnom Penh governor

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants