Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sok Bun begs for mercy



Sok Bun begs for mercy

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Property magnate Sok Bun (left) yesterday offered $100,000 in compensation to Ek Socheata (right) and pleaded not to be imprisoned after brutally beating the former TV host last week. Photo supplied / Chim Sreyneang

Sok Bun begs for mercy

Property tycoon Sok Bun, wanted for the vicious attack of a former TV star, publicly pleaded for his freedom yesterday, pledging to relinquish his “oknha” title and offering his victim $100,000 in compensation, even as Interior Minister Sar Kheng called for his arrest.

Bun has been on the run since images from a security camera in a Phnom Penh restaurant first leaked onto the internet last week, showing him savagely beating Ek Socheata, better known to her fans as Ms Sasa.

With calls for Bun’s arrest mounting, Kheng yesterday weighed in on the issue, warning senior police officials against “obstructing” the search during a meeting at the Interior Ministry.

“If he escapes, it will be an insult against us,” he said. “They would be insulting the prime minister and the police. We cannot accept that.”

As well as giving up his status as an oknha – a title bestowed upon people who make a significant financial contribution to development in Cambodia, usually at least $100,000 – Bun offered Sasa $100,000 in compensation.

The offer was made in a statement released by Bun’s lawyer, which pleads directly to Prime Minister Hun Sen for leniency.

In a separate letter, Bun also resigned as president of the Cambodian Valuers and Estate Agents Association, a real estate industry body, four days after Singaporean firm TEHO International announced he had agreed to step down as director of joint ventures between them and his company.

Those ventures include a $500 million hotel and residential development on the capital’s Chroy Changvar peninsula known as “The Bay,” which TEHO International on Monday said would go ahead.

Late last night a letter was circulated purportedly written by a Dr Mahen Nadarajad of the National Neuroscience Institute in Singapore, who claims Bun has been in his care for “several years”.

In the letter, Nadarajad says Bun “will be unable to travel for a number of months. I believe he has been asked to travel back to Cambodia. I feel that this would be unwise and would be against medical advice.”

In an interview yesterday, Sasa, who had previously rejected an offer of $40,000, similarly slapped down the new offer, comparing the late offer to waiting too long to put water on an out-of-control fire.

She has only recently returned from Thailand after receiving treatment for the injuries sustained during the July 2 attack, which she says was launched as she attempted to stop Bun from dragging her inebriated friend away against her will.

Sasa also welcomed Kheng’s remarks, saying she refused to “let anyone use money to buy” freedom and was intent on seeing Bun punished to the full extent of the law.

She said the Japanese friend who Bun had been harassing has also filed a complaint with authorities, though she is currently in her homeland, having fled out of fear for her personal safety.

Bun has widely been reported to be in Singapore, where he allegedly flew on July 8, a day after the video of the attack began circulating. However, rumours persist that he may in fact be in Phnom Penh.

Director of the Ministry of Interior’s Penal Police Department Sok Khemrin on Monday said Bun’s whereabouts are known, though he declined to give details, while he yesterday said he was awaiting an arrest warrant.

On Monday, opposition lawmaker Mu Sochua sent a letter to Singapore’s Ambassador to Cambodia, Kevin Cheok, calling for cooperation in locating Bun. In an email yesterday, she also joined calls for his financial offers to be rejected.

“He wants to buy justice? He will have to learn that justice is NOT for sale.

We must together say NO to violence against women.” Sochua wrote.

“The world saw his criminal act. The world can be used as witness for SaSa.”

Stella Anastasia, a technical assistant at local rights NGO Adhoc, insisted anything other than jail for Bun would send the wrong message about Cambodia, both to its citizens and to the international community.

“Mr Sok Bun escaping justice would further fuel the idea that anything can be bought in Cambodia, even the right to commit the most horrific crimes.

Not holding him accountable for his actions would come as the umpteenth confirmation that in Cambodia all are equal before the law, with some being more equal than others,” she said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • Cambodia at ‘most critical moment’, Hun Sen warns

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the first community transmission of Covid-19 in Cambodia has led the country to the “most critical moment” that warranted urgent, large-scale operations to contain the pandemic. Hun Sen, who confirmed the first local transmission on November 28, said the source of

  • PM confirms community transmission, calls for unity

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the public to stay calm, unite and follow the Ministry of Health guidelines after the wife of a senior official tested positive for Covid-19 in the Kingdom’s first case of community transmission. The case has drawn criticism

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there