The Court of Appeal on Friday bailed the 17-year-old son of prominent businessman and police general Duong Ngieb, a month after his two sons and their bodyguards were charged with brandishing a gun and pistol-whipping a customer at a restaurant in Phnom Penh’s Chamkar Mon district.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court presiding Judge Chuon Sunleng said Mr. Ngieb’s son, Duong Kimlong, filed a request to the court, asking that he be released on bail until his case comes to trial.
“We decided to release him on bail,” Judge Sunleng said, declining to elaborate further as to why the teenager was freed.
Bail is rarely granted by Cambodian courts particularly involving cases of gun violence and when suspects pose a potential threat to witnesses and the plaintiff ahead of trial.
Duong Kimlong was arrested on April 14—a day after the restaurant brawl—along with one of his bodyguards at a condominium owned by Mr. Ngieb near the Cambodiana Hotel. A handgun, an AK-47 assault rifle and 20 bullets were confiscated from his luxury car. A few days later, a second son, Duong Chhay, 22, was turned over to court officials by his father in connection with the same armed assault, but two other bodyguards remain at large.
The two brothers, Duong Kimlong and Duong Chhay, and their arrested bodyguard, were last month charged with causing injury, illegal weapons use and damaging private property, and were detained at PJ prison. The two other bodyguards were charged in absentia.
Reached by telephone on Friday, Mr. Ngieb, who is also a police brigadier general and deputy chief of the Interior Ministry’s immigration police department, said his sons are innocent.
According to Mr. Ngieb, a third, mysterious person called “A Sna” was the perpetrator of the attack, but that he is now on the run.
“I think the Appeals Court understood that my son Duong Kimlong is a minor, that he did not commit the crime and he is not a gun owner,” Mr. Ngieb said of his son’s successful bail request.
Mr. Ngieb also claimed that the victim of the attack, who sustained severe head injuries after being pistol-whipped, had also withdrawn his complaint against his sons.
“The victim withdrew a complaint against my sons on May 11. The cases were confused with each other, because my son [Duong Chhay] did not fight with the victim,” the police general claimed.
Commenting on the picture of his teenage son holding an AK-47 assault rifle that military police say they found in the teenager’s Mercedes following his arrest, Mr. Ngieb said the rifle did not belong to the 17-year-old.
Ros Phalla, a lawyer for the victim of the attack, Mom Dina, 28, declined to comment on Friday.
A trial date has not been set for the case.