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Heng Pov Pleas for Frozen Assets

Jailed former police chief Heng Pov has appealed to an adviser of Prime Minister Hun Sen to release court-frozen funds so that he can continue to defend himself against a battery of charges.

Heng Pov, who, as the police chief of Phnom Penh, was in the top circle of Cambodia's security apparatus, is serving a sentence of more than 40 years for involvement in murders, kidnappings and possession of illegal weapons and counterfeit bills.

In an April 1 letter to Om Yentieng, head of Cambodia's Human Rights Committee and adviser to Hun Sen, Heng Pov pleaded for the release of the frozen funds.

Heng Pov wrote he needed the money for his lawyer, school fees for his children and medication for himself.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court had not responded to similar requests in the past, he wrote.

Lawyer Kao Sopha confirmed Heng Pov had asked for the funds to be released from Canadia Bank, where Heng Pov has more than $900,000.

Heng Pov requested to withdraw $200,000, Kao Sopha said, adding Heng Pov had money in other banks but he did not know how much.

Om Yentieng has yet to respond to the letter, and he could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court Chief Chiev Keng declined comment Thursday.

Heng Pov is facing demands of compensation from victims, Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge Sao Meach said.

The courts froze Heng Pov's funds in 2006, writing that the money would be held until all cases against him are heard.