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Former Police Chief Gets Another 18 Years in Jail

Former Phnom Penh police chief Heng Pov was handed another 18 years in prison Tuesday, in continuing court proceedings against him.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court issued the sentence after finding Heng Pov guilty of conspiracy to commit murder earlier this year, in the 2005 attempted killing of state electricity company official Kim Daravuth.

Kim Daravuth was shot in the neck by gunmen following a dispute with Heng Pov over an electricity bill. He survived but is now paralyzed.

The court also handed 18-year sentences to Hang Vuthy, a former police officer for the municipal minor crime unit, who has since fled prison, and Am Samkheng, former police officer for the Ministry of Interior.

Judge Chay Kong, who presided over a three-judge panel, also ordered the men to pay $800,000 to the victim.

The court released suspect Prum Sophearith, who had been charged alongside Heng Pov.

The fallen police chief has been sentenced to a total of 58 years and six months so far, in a battery of cases against him, including guilty verdicts for murder, extortion, illegal weapons possession and kidnapping.

He still faces additional charges, including kidnapping and murder.

Kim Daravuth’s wife, Vong Nina, told reporters following the sentencing that the courts had provided “real justice” for her “long-suffering husband.”

“My husband did not sleep well last night before the decision was issued, because he is afraid of not having real justice,” she said.

Heng Pov’s lawyer, Kao Sopha, called the court’s decision “unjust” and “revenge between the court and Heng Pov.”

“In the past Heng Pov carried out the Iron Fist [corruption-fighting campaign] of Prime Minister Hun Sen, affecting court institutions, particularly the municipal court,” Kao Sopha said.

Heng Pov has one month to appeal.

Heng Pov had been a powerful member of Cambodia’s security apparatus, until he was accused of murder, fled the country and was extradited by Malaysia authorities in late 2006.

He has accused both Prime Minister Hun Sen and National Police Chief Hok Lundy of orchestrating numerous murders, a charge the two have denied as a bid for third-country asylum.