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Wanted Heng Pov Is Arrested In Singapore

Singaporean police authorities on Friday arrested a former Phnom Penh police commissioner, Mr. Heng Pov, an action the Cambodian officials have been hoping for for a long time, on charges of violating Singaporean immigration regulations.

He has been arrested under Sec 15 (1) of the Immigration Act for overstaying his legal permission to be in the country and his case has been referred to the Immigration Checkpoints Authority for further action, according to Singaporean and Cambodian police officials who spoke by telephone to VOA Khmer several hours ago.

It remains unclear whether Hen Pov will be extradited to Cambodia where he faces charges, be sent to a third country, or remain in Singapore.

Mr. Heng Pov is an advisor to Prime Minister Hun Sen, and a Ministry of Interior under Secretary of State. A Phnom Penh court charged him in July with serious crimes after King Sihamoni appealed to Mr. Hun Sen to remove him from his positions.

He is wanted for alleged ties to the murder of judge Sok Sethamony and other crimes. Mr. Heng Pov fled Cambodia on July 23 for Singapore. It is reported his visa has expired.

Victor Keong, the media relations officer on public affairs for police headquarters, told VOA by telephone Friday that Mr. Heng Pov was arrested by the Singaporean police. Ministry of Interior's spokesman, Lieutenant General Khieu Sopheak, confirms the detention at a hotel in Singapore.

Khieu Sopheak said he does not know whether or not Mr. Heng Pov will be extradited, but he says that it is not proper if this fugitive will not be extradited, resulting in a bad model for other cases to follow suit.

Cambodian lawyers are monitoring Mr. Heng Pov's arrest, and they told VOA Khmer that are not sure, according to Singapore law, whether or not Mr. Heng Pov will have the rights to get a refugee status from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), or will be allowed to resettle in a third country.

Mr. Heng Pov's lawyer, Mr. David Chen, makes no comments on his client arrest, nor denies it, saying he is informed about it, and will get more information. Mr. Heng Pov has implicated, in interviews and in written statements, Prime Minister Hun Sen, National Police Commissioner Hok Lundy and other top officials in serious crimes, including violence and killings. The top government officials have denied allegations, asserting that Heng Pov is desperate to gain political asylum.