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Court Says It Cannot Force Police To Arrest Fugitive Former Governor

Chhouk Bandit appeared at appeal court before disappearing, photo courtesy CLEC.
Court officials said Friday they have no plan to “push” police to arrest a former governor who is accused of wounding three garment workers in a shooting incident last year.

Chhouk Bandit, the former governor of Bavet city, Svay Rieng province, remains at large, despite a court-issued guilty verdict for firing into a crowd of demonstrators in February 2012.

Yu Bunleng, head of the Appeals Court, which upheld the verdict, said the court had followed up with the case but could not force the police to make any arrests.

“The next step is for the police,” he said. “We sent this case to the police.”

Rights workers say Chhouk Bandith is protected by his powerful political connections, making it unlikely he will serve his 18-month sentence or pay the $10,000 in victims’ compensation.

Moung Khim, deputy director of the department of justice inside the Ministry of Interior, said police have not closed the case and are not ignoring it.

“In some cases it is easy to arrest perpetrators,” he said. “And in some cases it is difficult.”