Lawyer Accused of ‘Joyride’ in Hun Sen Park

Controversial lawyer David Chan­aiwa was sent to Phnom Penh Mu­nicipal Court on Tuesday, ac­cused of destroying public property and violating traffic laws by driving his Hummer—the civilian-use model of the military Humvee vehicle—across Hun Sen Park, police of­ficials said.

The 33-year-old Cambodian-American was being held in custody at the Ministry of Interior on Tues­day night, said Interior Min­istry Infor­mation Bureau Director Chhay Sin­arith. He added that the suspect had been arrested Monday after being ques­tioned in the Cham­kar Mon dis­trict police office.

“He confessed he drove his own car through to damage the garden for fun,” Chhay Sinarith said. He added that the black Hummer had driven through the park opposite Naga­Corp Casino around 2 am Sat­urday after the suspect held a par­ty near the riverside.

Chanaiwa could not be contacted for comment on Tuesday.

The alleged joyride did minor dam­­age to more than 300 meters of the park, said Phnom Penh Parks De­­partment chief Sam Sam­uth, who is preparing estimates for re­pairs.

“Although Hun Sen Park only sustained minor damage, it was a shameful act because they des­troy­ed their own country’s private prop­erty,” Sam Samuth said.

The US-educated lawyer, who made his name representing garment factory owners in high profile labor disputes, was once disbarred in Cambodia for violations of the bar’s code of conduct but later reinstated by the Supreme Court. He is currently involved in a trademark infringement case.

Contacted Tuesday, Ky Tech, acting Bar Association president, said that Chanaiwa is not a mem­ber of the bar.

Phnom Penh Municipal Gov­er­nor Kep Chuktema previously an­nounced a 10 million riel ($2,500) re­ward for information leading to an ar­rest for the park’s damage, but he could not be reached for com­­­ment on Tuesday.

Phnom Penh Municipal Serious Crime Police Chief Chuon Narin confirmed the arrest and said police are searching for other suspects.

But Chhay Sinarith said there would be no other suspects, alleging that Chanaiwa acted alone.

(Ad­di­­tional reporting by Lor Chandara)


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