Similar Promise May Free Hun Chea, Says Investigating Judge
Six men arrested with a nephew of Prime Minister Hun Sen in connection with a shooting incident at a Phnom Penh nightclub last Thursday night were released by the municipal court Monday after agreeing they would be on good behavior.
However, 24-year-old Hun Chea, son of the prime minister’s older brother Hun San, continued to be detained on Investigating Judge Kong Seth’s order.
The six men were released because they were not involved in the shooting at the Hollywood Club at the Parkway Square shopping center and because their parents guaranteed they would behave themselves, Kong Seth said Monday evening.
“I ordered to release the six because after my investigation I found the six are only friends of Hun Chea and just joined a party with him to drink,” said Kong Seth. Hun Chea also will be released if he can provide the same guarantee of good behavior, said Kong Seth.
The investigation will continue, and initial charges against the seven of using illegal weapons and damaging property have not been withdrawn, Kong Seth said.
The prime minister’s nephew was alone in shooting three bullets from a handgun in a Hollywood nightclub karaoke room, the judge said. A very drunk Hun Chea had taken a weapon from a friend with Interior police and the gun went off accidentally, Kong Seth said, with one bullet going through a television and two bullets into the karaoke room ceiling.
Kong Seth said he did not know about three bullets police say were fired into the Parkway snooker hall ceiling or bullets shot at police outside the club.
Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara ordered the arrest of the seven after Sim Hong, deputy chief of municipal military police, informed him that police were fired on by a group that had earlier shot up a karaoke room. Hun Sen said Saturday that he personally sanctioned the arrests.
Kong Seth also said that the Hollywood Club’s owner has written a letter to the court stating the seven do not have to pay for damage done to the room or the television as they are his friends.
According to Kong Seth, there has been no outside interference in the case which could take up to six months to investigate.
Using an illegal weapon carries a prison sentence of between six months and three years. Destroying property carries a prison term of between two months and one year depending on the value of the property, said Kong Seth.
Sim Hong said Monday that he was not disappointed with the decision to release the six. “However, I will still investigate the seven,” he said.
T Mohan, publisher of The Vision newspaper and a friend of three of the arrested, said Monday at the courthouse that the authorities were just making an example of the six. “Their only crime was being in the company of Hun Chea,” said Mohan.