Indonesia Calls for Clarity After Citizen Stopped at Airport

An Indonesian citizen who has admitted to robbing $161,000 from a casino that he worked at in Kan­dal province was prevented from boarding a plane to Jakarta Friday morning, irking the Indonesian ambassador, who was of the belief the man was free to leave.

In an interview Friday, Ambassador Pitono Purnomo said that after sending numerous letters to Cambodian officials asking relevant officials to clarify the case against Jefry Sun—all of which went unanswered—he concluded the Indonesian was free to go home. 

However, when Mr. Sun was just moments from stepping on his flight, the ambassador’s assumption was proven wrong.

“He passed already immigration, he was waiting to board, about to board, and then he walked to the gate of the plane and the police came. ‘OK, have a subpoena, you still have legal matters in Cambodia,’” said Muhsinin Dolisada, a first secretary at the Indonesian Embassy.

Mr. Sun fled from his job at the casino May 7. Soon after, 16 fellow Indonesians employed at the Grand Dragon Resort were detained for questioning for their suspected involvement in the theft, but released and allowed to return home on May 31.

On May 19, Mr. Sun handed himself into his embassy, which has since been offering consular assistance.

The summons handed to Mr. Sun at the airport Friday is dated May 27 and says that questioning should occur before June 12.

Mr. Purnomo, the ambassador, said that the Indonesian Embassy should have been informed immediately that one of its citizens had been summonsed, in line with the Vi­­enna Convention.

“They did not inform us, they failed to inform us,” he said. “We regret that, but we are questioning why they failed to inform us. Did they purposely not inform us or did they simply forget?”

Mr. Purnomo, who has labeled the casino “mafia-style,” said his office began to doubt the transparency of the case after a May 23 meeting where the embassy’s representatives and Mr. Sun sat across a table from Kandal’s chief prosecutor, Kandal police, immigration police, lawyers and casino representatives.

“The prosecutor speaks on behalf of the casino, he acts as if he is the spokesperson of the casino,” he said. “I am just confused.”

The ambassador said the casino had initially agreed to a proposal where Mr. Sun would pay back what he could afford—about $17,000—but that the deal was retracted, and that communications had stalled ever since.

“In my mind, the prosecutor is playing the game, and the police might be, too…. Siding with the casino for his personal interest,” he said.

Mr. Purnomo showed the latest letters he sent to Sok Phal, chief of the Interior Ministry’s immigration department, Kandal Provincial Court chief prosecutor Lim So­kunthea and provincial police chief Eav Chamroeun asking for an update on the status of the case against Mr. Sun.

The letters, dated Wednesday, said that if the embassy did not receive clarification on the case by Thursday, it would take that as clearance for Mr. Sun to leave Friday.

“It is very unethical, very strange, in common diplomatic practice, but they did not answer my letters,” Mr. Purnomo said.

Contacted Friday evening, General Phal said he had just received a letter from the Indonesian Embassy, and said they would have been better off coming to meet him in person in urgent situations.

“I will read the letter and take action according to Cambodian law,” he said.

Mr. Sokunthea, the provincial prosecutor, said no date had been set for questioning Mr. Sun.

“It will be soon,” he said, declining to answer further questions.

[email protected], [email protected]

Related Stories

Latest News

The Weekly DispatchA weekly newsletter from The Cambodia Daily delivering news, analysis and opinion to your inbox. Published every Friday at 11:30am. Sign up today.