Phnom Penh Municipal Court tried two men yesterday on charges of forging a royal decree to help a Korean national become an adviser to the health minister. Seng Phirun, a 52-year-old former national military police officer, faces a charge of forgery, while Tang Huot, a 48-year-old former Interior Ministry police officer, is charged with being an a accomplice to forgery.
Presiding judge Sin Visal said the verdict is due Nov 15.
Senate Chairman Chea Sim’s Cabinet filed a complaint against the two men alleging forgery, which led to Mr Huot’s arrest on March 9 in Tuol Kok district and Mr Phirun’s arrest a day later in Daun Penh district.
Both men admitted their roles in copying and changing a name on a royal decree, but the suspects maintained they never planned for the forged document to be used illicitly.
“I did it, but I did not do it intentionally because I wanted to make it as a sample for Mr Huot,” Mr Phirun told the court. “I got $200 from Mr Huot to copy it in color to make a sample.”
Mr Phirun also said he was asked to change the name to that of Sun Mao, a Korean national who allegedly sought the royal decree in an effort to become an adviser to the health minister. Mr Mao has not been charged with a crime and his whereabouts are unknown.
Mr Huot told the court that Mr Mao gave him $1,250 to copy and prepare the document, but he added that he told Mr Mao the copied document was a sample and was not to be used officially.
“I just made a sample for him, I didn’t know the Korean man used it,” Mr Huot told the court.
Defense attorney Thuy Sokun claimed Mr Sim’s Cabinet withdrew its complaint, so the charges against his clients should be dropped. Deputy prosecutor Chet Khemara said that based on the answers the suspects gave, he will continue to pursue the case.
Mr Sim’s Cabinet chief, Mom Sarin, could not be reached for comment. Health Minister Mam Bun Heng said he was too busy to comment.
No one involved in the case would discuss the suspects’ ranks while they were officers.