Controversial lawyer David Chanaiwa drove his wife’s car to a Wednesday interview because officials are still holding the Hummer in which he allegedly drove across Hun Sen Park in August, earning him more than a month in jail.
Interviewed about his high-profile arrest and prison detention, Chanaiwa denied driving the all-terrain vehicle across the park though he concedes he was present for the incident, for which he was arrested Aug 22.
Chanaiwa also claimed that multiple vehicles were involved in the foray through the public gardens named after the premier, though he declined to name the drivers.
“The reason why I can’t tell you is that it’s in the past, and I just want to leave it that way,” he said. “I think the public is already aware that there was not only one vehicle…it was more than one.”
Chanaiwa also said he had not confessed to the traffic violation, as police had reported following his arrest, although his Friday release from prison on bail was secured after his family sent an apologetic letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Interior Ministry Information Department Director Chhay Sinarith was sticking to his story on Wednesday that Chanaiwa had confessed to the charge.
“Dropping the lawsuit doesn’t mean there is no evidence,” Chhay Sinarith added.
Chanaiwa said he might be facing problems because he works on legal cases that involve the powerful.
“I’m usually involved in high-profile cases, which no one wants to touch,” said Chanaiwa, who initially made his name representing garment factory owners in labor disputes.
Chanaiwa’s latest high-profile case relates to alleged trademark infringement involving a logo of a goat and names of popular toiletries made by Malaysian Ivy Beauty Corporation.
Chanaiwa, in a document sent to the Intellectual Property Department of the Ministry of Commerce, alleges that Nokor Pich Co, Ltd has registered in Cambodia identical trademarks to the Malaysian firm’s.
Keo Havy, who is named in the document sent to the ministry, said by telephone that he sometimes works for Nokor Pich and that the firm’s products were not copied from another company.
Chanaiwa also took issue on Wednesday with allegations that he was not a member of the Cambodian Bar Association, maintaining that he was still legally a member of the association despite efforts to have him disbarred twice.
Following Chanaiwa’s arrest, acting Cambodian Bar Association President Ky Tech issued a letter to local media stating that Chanaiwa was not a member of the bar.
“As far as I know I am still a lawyer,” Chanaiwa said.
Ky Tech, who lost the bar association presidential election but is currently acting president while the case is resolved in court, said on Wednesday that Chanaiwa’s name hasn’t been on the bar association list since 2003.
Chanaiwa “didn’t look into the law,” Ky Tech said.