The Appeal Court on Monday upheld the guilty verdict of disgraced former Phnom Penh police chief Heng Pov for illegally detaining a businessman in 2002 and increased his prison sentence from three months to one year, officials said.
In April 2008, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court found Mr Pov guilty of illegally detaining Chheang Huot in August 2002 without a court warrant and sentenced him to three months in prison.
Appeal Court Judge Chuon Sunleng said by telephone after the hearing that the municipal court’s verdict was too light and was taken from the outdated State of Kampuchea 1987 law. The Appeal Court increased the sentence to bring it in line with the Untac penal code, he said. “[Three months] was too little, using the 1987 law,” Judge Sunleng said.
Mr Pov’s attorney, Kao Soupha, said Monday that his client confessed to arresting Mr Huot without a warrant, but added that he did so under the orders of former National Police chief Hok Lundy, who died in a helicopter crash in November.
“Heng Pov had admitted fault in bringing [in] a person without the warrant, but there was a complaint [against Mr Huot] filed with Hok Lundy who signed it and ordered Heng Pov on the telephone,” Mr Soupha said.
Mr Pov testified at the municipal court in 2008 that he arrested Mr Huot because of Mr Lundy’s order, but the court declined to call Mr Lundy as a witness, Mr Soupha said.
With the Appeal Court’s Monday decision, Mr Pov is now serving a total of 93.5 years in prison for various crimes.
In a separate case, Mr Soupha said that Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge Chhay Kong will question Mr Pov today over a 2006-civil suit filed against him by a former business partner, Sun Kunthy, who is demanding the return of 4 hectares of land in Meanchey district’s Prek Pra commune.
Mr Soupha said that Mr Pov and his wife have titles proving the land belongs to them and accused Ms Kunthy of owing his client $470,000 from a car importing business they owned together.
Judge Kong declined to discuss the civil suit on Monday and Ms Kunthy could not be reached for comment.