Tycoon’s Son Gets 4 Months in Slapping Case

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court suspended eight months of the one-year sentence it handed down Tuesday to Duong Udomchorvin, who was arrested in April for slapping the son of timber magnate Try Pheap at a tattoo parlor, a court official said.

Mr. Udomchorvin, 27, who is also the son of a wealthy businessman, was arrested on April 13 for slapping Try Duluch, 21, multiple times then threatening to shoot him inside the RSD Tattoo parlor in Daun Penh district. He was charged with intentional violence two days later.

Despite being found guilty Tuesday, Mr. Udomchorvin—who did not appear in court—could walk free by the end of the week.

Presiding Judge Svay Tonh declined to discuss the case, but sent his clerk, Sam Bunthoeun, to speak to a waiting group of reporters at the courthouse.

“The court already sentenced him to one year and fined him 3 million riel [about $750],” Mr. Bunthoeun said. “He was ordered to serve only four months in prison.”

Nach Try, a lawyer for Mr. Udomchorvin—the son of developer Duong Ngieb, a major general in the Interior Ministry—confirmed the suspended sentence but declined to comment further.

Contacted Tuesday, Maj. Gen. Ngieb said the court’s decision was “acceptable.”

“It was just a normal argument, mocking each other while drunk, and a few punches,” he said of the incident at the tattoo parlor.

“In modern countries, they would not send these kind of people to prison,” he added. “They would send them to a youth rehabilitation center and the court would just fine them.”

Maj. Gen. Ngieb said his family would not appeal the court’s decision.

“The next time he faces a situation like this, he will apologize and walk away,” he said.

In April 2013, Mr. Udomchorvin was convicted of causing injuries, illegal weapons use and property damage for taking part in a brawl at a restaurant in Phnom Penh during which a man suffered head injuries after being pistol-whipped. The Appeal Court reduced his 3-1/2-year prison term to six months.

Am Sam Ath, technical supervisor for rights group Licadho, said Mr. Udomchorvin’s most recent punishment was too lenient.

“With cases involving tycoons, tycoons’ sons or powerful and high-ranking officials, we can see that the sentences are too light,” Mr. Sam Ath said.

“If the children of poor families were facing similar serious charges, I believe the implementation of the convictions would not be the same,” he added.

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