Two-Star Police General Asks for Leniency Over Covid-19 Lockdown Party

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Two-star general Ung Chanthuok and his two associates board a prison van in front after pleading for a sentence reduction at the Supreme Court on January 17, 2022. (Ouch Sony/VOD)

A two-star police general and two associates who were sentenced to 18-months in prison for having drinks during the Covid-19 lockdown last April pleaded for sentence reductions at the Supreme Court on Monday.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced Ung Chanthuok, 46, on April 29 to 18 months in prison and a fine of 5 million riel, while associates Lay Phearun, 29, and Kok Khy, 35, received one year in prison and fines of 5 million riel each.

Defense lawyer Chhun Vinita argued that the case was a misdemeanor and not a serious violation of Covid-19 administrative measures.

His clients had pleaded guilty and had not transmitted the disease to anyone with their night of drinking, he added.

“They did not cause any serious danger and did not affect the policy or society,” Vinta said. “This is a special case. Please have my clients freed.”

Supreme Court prosecutor Chan Dararaksmey also asked the court to consider leniency, saying the accused had pleaded guilty and did not transmit Covid-19.

Chanthuon, a deputy chief of staff for the National Police, was arrested on April 16 after he organized a drinking party at his home, with tenants from his building in attendance. On April 17, he was removed from his official position.

A decision on the appeal is expected on January 24.

Prisons spokesperson Nuth Savna and municipal court spokesperson Y Rin said they did not have on hand the number of people in jail for Covid-19 violations, though they would try to find out.

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