Ex-Court Director’s Bodyguard Accused of Giving Judges Orders

The National Police said Tuesday that the Phnom Penh Municipal Court has finished its investigation into the bodyguard of the court’s disgraced former director, Ang Mealaktei, accusing him of ordering around court officials on instructions from his ex-boss.

Mr. Mealaktei was ousted as the court’s director in February, a few hours after Prime Minister Hun Sen suggested in a public speech that a decision to grant bail to the parents of Defense Ministry official Thong Sarath—who stands charged of ordering the murder of businessman Ung Meng Chue—may have been influenced by a $5-million bribe.

Pech Prum Mony (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
Pech Prum Mony (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

Mr. Mealaktei’s bodyguard, Pech Prum Mony, a brigadier general in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, was arrested a few days later and has since been charged with interference in public functions and unauthorized use of vehicles bearing military or police emblems.

In a statement posted to its website Tuesday, the National Police said Judge Long Kesarphirum finished his investigation of Mr. Prum Mony last week and, citing unnamed court officials, lays out the allegations against him.

“Besides providing security and public order at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Mr. Pech Prum Mony was also given the duty of controlling and observing all the activities of judges and clerks, as well as prosecutors and deputy prosecutors,” the statement says.

It goes on to claim that Mr. Prum Mony was also present when the court questioned Mr. Sarath’s parents, who are charged with illegal weapons possession, and others involved in the murder case, “which is absolutely in violation of the law.”

“Moreover, Mr. Pech Prum Mony dared to order people in charge of the cases to follow his commands because he used Ang Mealaktei’s power,” the statement says.

Taing Sunlay, the municipal court’s new director, confirmed that the investigation was complete but said he did not know if or when hearings would be scheduled. He also said he did not know if the court would also be investigating Mr. Mealaktei, who has been given a job at the Justice Ministry.

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