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Thwarted vote buyer wants compensation

Thwarted vote buyer wants compensation

A ruling party member caught vote-buying on tape told a court hearing yesterday he should be compensated by the man he attempted to bribe because he recorded their conversation.

On January 23, the Battambang Provincial Election Commission fined Cambodian People’s Party member Cheam Pe A $US1,230 for attempting to buy Sam Rainsy Party commune councillor Mok Ra’s vote in Senate elections the following Sunday.

As a plaintiff, Cheam Pe A told Battambang Provincial Court yesterday that Mok Ra had broken the law by recording him offering the $700 bribe and asked for 10 million riel (US$2,475) in compensation.

Cheam Pe A’s lawyer, Ham Mony, said the very existence of the tape was evidence enough that Mok Ra had broken article 301 of the Cambodian Penal Code – which forbids tape recording people without their consent.

“According to evidence of the tape recording he took to use in the hearing at Battambang Provincial Election Commission, this is enough evidence of the offence,” Ham Mony said.

Ham Mony said his client was seeking a criminal conviction against Mok Ra for the alleged offence.

Mok Ra’s lawyer, Choung Choungy, said that in cases where someone was recorded as evidence of them breaking the law, article 301 did not apply.

“Vote buying is illegal, so his recording [in this scenario] works to his advantage,” he said.

“If someone recorded a bad action and was punished, it is a destruction of justice.”

When contacted yesterday, Battambang provincial court prosecutor Nuon San declined to comment because he had further witnesses to summons for questioning.

Preliminary Senate elections results released by the National Election Committee on Sunday showed the CPP had scored an outright majority in the ballot, winning 46 seats.

The SRP had increased its members of the upper house from two to 11.

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