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After Six Years on Run, Escapee Wants ‘Justice’

Police say they are investigating the reasons behind the sudden appearance of a former police official who escaped prison six years ago and is accused of several high-profile murders while in uniform.

Hang Vuthy, a former member of the Phnom Penh police, turned himself in at the offices of a local rights group on Friday, having lived on the lam since breaking out of Prey Sar prison in 2006.

“I turned myself in to police because I want the court to find me justice,” Hang Vuthy told VOA Khmer.

Hang Vuthy has already been given some 51 years of jail time for involvement in at least four serious crimes, including the murders of a judge and the head of Cambodia’s electric company. He was also accused of attempting to kill a military police commander, Sao Sokha.

On Saturday, Phnom Penh court upheld a 45-year sentence for the murder of the judge, Sok Sethamony, handed down in absentia in 2006.

Hang Vuthy told reporters last week he had been forced to escape prison with other inmates and that he had been tortured by police while in detention. He denied attempting to kill Sao Sokha, a powerful military police official.

Police spokesman Keat Chantharith said Hang Vuthy is denying responsibility for crimes the courts have already found him guilty of.

However, he said, police are looking into the circumstances that led to his return to the public spotlight after so many years.