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Wife of jailed Australian seeks justice

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The Kandal Provincial Court. Photo Supplied

Wife of jailed Australian seeks justice

As an Australian Christian missionary jailed on fraud charges awaits an Appeal Court verdict on Friday over his possible bail, his distraught wife has lashed out at the private contractor responsible for the litigation, claiming it spuriously accused her husband after losing multiple civil cases.

Martin Chan King Wai was charged in December 2018 with fraud in relation to a school project in Kandal province’s Takhmao town.

In January 2015, Chan contracted PHV Construction Co Ltd to build a school worth $2.9 million in Prek Hou Khang Koeut village in Takhmao town’s Prek Hou commune.

In February 2016, Chan – who then represented the charity His International Services (His) – halted the project due to a lack of funds.

Deborah Kim, his wife, told The Post on Thursday that PHV then sought retribution through civil cases which it lost all the way up to the Supreme Court.

Dissatisfied, she claimed the company then filed a vindictive criminal complaint against her husband, leading to his detention in November last year.

“PHV lost the civil case which was decided at the Supreme Court, so the company sued again in the Kandal court and made it into a criminal case without evidence. Even the prosecutor wants to release him, but the judge detained him even though the court doesn’t have any evidence of the fraud charge,” she said.

Kim claimed PHV had initially agreed to the termination but later took the case to the National Arbitration Centre and lost because His International terminated the contract following Cambodian law.

She said PHV appealed all the way to the Supreme Court and again lost, after which it filed the fraud complaint claiming the contract was terminated “without reason”, which she stressed is false.

His International, she said, notified PHV that the contract needed to be terminated because of a lack of funding – not without a reason.

“Martin did not avoid the court summon as the court claimed. He appeared at the court to give his statement in 2018 and applied for delay of hearing in February last year as he needed time to collect more evidence to show that he is not the owner of His international.

“The court never replied and just issued a warrant which the court never delivered to our lawyer or Martin. My husband was a non-salaried volunteer and he resigned from His international in November 2017. Yet PHV took him to court claiming that he is the owner of His international company,” Kim stressed.

The Kandal Provincial Court on Thursday stood by its statement issued on Monday after The Post reported the case.

“Claims that a foreign national who has been trying to help Cambodian children has been unfairly imprisoned by the provincial court do not reflect reality. The [pre-trial detention] is meant to ensure that the accused is readily available to face trial in future hearings before the court decided on a verdict,” it said.

Provincial court spokesman Sou Sarin claimed that the case was being handled in accordance with legal procedures.

“Now we have sent Martin Chan’s case to the Appeal Court. We don’t know yet about its decision. International media coverage and claims of injustice are just one-sided. It’s up to the Appeal Court to decide on the case,” he said.

Appeal Court spokesperson Touch Tharith told The Post on Thursday that the court has already held a hearing over the granting of bail to Chan.

Ly Kimlun, Chan’s lawyer, said on Thursday that a verdict over bail is due on Friday.

“The Supreme Court held a hearing and upheld the decision by the National Arbitration Centre. It means that PHV lost the case already.

“When PHV filed a complaint with the Kandal Provincial Court, it took the opportunity to separate the case into a criminal one, accusing my client in contravention of procedure,” he said.

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