Jailing 'halts snakebite treatment'

Ostap Doroshenko.
Ostap Doroshenko. Daniel Quinlan

Jailing 'halts snakebite treatment'

Sihanoukville’s Doroshenko clan is back in the limelight after appearing in an Apsara Net News video claiming that the jailing of the family’s patriarch, Nikolai Doroshenko, has led to the temporary closure of their snakebite NGO.

Since 2009, Soviet-trained herpetologist Nikolai has run a free snakebite treatment clinic in the seaside province.

But a lack of funds due to Nikolai’s jailing in March means no more anti-venom can be imported from Thailand, while doctors cannot be paid, according to his son Ostap Doroshenko.

“We are waiting for Papa to be released so that we will reopen,” Ostap said in Khmer to the TV presenter. “In Cambodia, we have at least 60 people with snakebites per month sent to our NGO, and we help them.”

Released on Thursday, the Apsara video displayed images of gruesome snakebites along with interviews with former patients.

The video also included photos of Sergei Polonsky, the former Russian billionaire and sworn enemy of the Doroshenkos, whose accusations of property fraud led Nikolai, his former business partner, to jail. One photo showed Polonsky holding what appears to be a marijuana joint in each hand, a picture which Ostap has routinely posted on social media and for which Polonsky sued him for defamation.

Contacted by the Post, Ostap confirmed that the snakebite clinic was closed for the time being.

Ostap said his father paid the clinic’s expenses, but legal costs and the cessation of Nikolai’s many business activities meant no extra money was available. “Right now, [we have] a very big problem with this money. We are not rich,” he said.

Nikolai Doroshenko remains in jail in Preah Sihanouk, even though Polonsky was deported to Russia for alleged immigration violations last month and is in custody in Moscow pending embezzlement charges from his home country.

Provincial court chief Mong Mony Chakriya said that despite Polonsky’s deportation, Nikolai’s case was not terminated as the charges against him “have not been dropped by the provincial court’s prosecutor yet”.

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