Reactions to the Sentences on Three Young People to Serve One Year in Prison on the Accusation of Being ‘Gambling Agents’ – Monday, 7.9.2009

Posted on 8 September 2009. Filed under: Week 629 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 629

“Phnom Penh: On 1 September 2009, the Phnom Penh Court heard and sentenced three persons, who were hired to write football betting receipts and lottery papers, and to take care of game machines for children, to serve one year in prison each – the sentencing was accompanied with noisy crying from their relatives.

“A judge of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Ms. Sem Sakola, convicted Mr. Sok Vy – 28, Ms. Phat Linda – 23, and Ms. Suon Sreymuoy – 22, to serve one year in prison, starting from the day they were arrested on 29 August 2009, and ordered them to pay Riel 7 million [approx. US$1,700] each in fines under the accusation of being ‘gambling agents.’

“Journalists from Rasmei Kampuchea went to the workplace of the above mentioned persons at House 50E0, at the corner of Streets 109 and 140, Monorom, Prampi Makara district, in Phnom Penh, around the Dumex market on Saturday. Witnesses, who are neighbors, said that the House 50E0 runs football betting, lottery, and game machines for children since long ago. There are around two to three houses running similar businesses there, like game machines for children.

“Witnesses added that Sok Vy came from a province to live in Phnom Penh, renting a house, and he had worked for that house for many years, responsibly controlling the game machines for children, collecting money, and repairing the machines. Ms. Phat Linda was responsible for writing lottery receipts, where previously many companies were allowed to run this business, but now, it is not clear whether it is illegal or legal. Ms. Suon Sreymuoy was responsible for writing football betting receipts, a business that the Royal government had regularly suppressed, and there had been an order to officially close down the CamboSix football betting company. Ms. Sreymuoy lives with her mother at an upper floor of a house next to her workplace, under difficult living conditions. The three persons work there, earning about US$80 to US$100 per month, to support the needs of their everyday living themselves; they had kept on working and did not know that they were committing such a serious offense.

“Thus, their sentences led to strong sympathy, and to sadness among their relatives and friends.

“A lawyer expressed his view that the above decision is in response to an order from higher levels. The Royal government had recently announced to crack down on and to close all kinds of gambling.

“The three persons had worked for a gambling site, which is against the law. He added that therefore, all citizens should find jobs that are legal, in order to avoid being affected by such offenses, adding that gambling offenses are controlled in different ways. Prosecution depends on the analysis of each judge. He went on to say, ‘Previously, I had seen similar cases, but judges had decided to suspend convictions, or to impose the payment of fines only, but they did not send persons to jail like in this case, and convictions by some judges did not insist on follow-up strategies with those who had committed serious offenses.

“A lecturer on criminology at the Royal University of Law and Economics, Mr. Run Punnarith, said that the government is concentrating on closing gambling places. ‘Thus, anyone who takes part in the offense is against the order.’ He added that because of the downturn of education and of morals, some people do things against the law. He continued to say, ‘As educators, we have to try to educate the citizens to be afraid of the law and to respect it.’

“The lecturer Punnarith added that the aims of the above convictions is to make it clear: first, the three persons abused the law whether they agree or not; second, a one-year imprisonment is a warning for all young people to be careful in choosing their jobs, not to choose jobs related to gambling. The implementation of the rule of law should also be observed in choosing a job. He said, ‘However, we, as educators, regret to see the future of these three persons ruined. The above verdict ruins their future, because their names will be listed in the criminal records.

“A lecturer of history and culture at the Royal University of Law and Economics, Mr. In Omsameng, said that the three persons above had decided to work in their job because they did not know that it is an offense. However, they have a chance to seek justice by appealing to the Appeals Court and the Supreme Court.

“However, Phnom Penh municipal judges do not make fair hearings and prosecutions compared to other cases like the above one. On 13 July 2009 a judge of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Ms. Chang Sinat, sentenced 38 men and women, arrested from a gambling site owned by a Taiwanese man to serve 18 months in prison, but their sentences were all suspended for five years, and each of them was ordered to pay Riel 5 million [approx. US$1,250] in fines, accused as ‘gabling agents’ like in the above case.

“Regarding this case, the lecturer Run Punnarith said that any conviction is made according to the discretions of each judge. Thus, the three convicts have the right to appeal to the Appeals Court and to the Supreme Court to find justice. He added that the above case is a model case for our citizens, so that they are careful in seeking jobs.”Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4992, 6-7.9.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 7 September 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #282, 6-7.9.2009

  • Russey Keo District Authorities Summoned Gold Vendors and Currency Exchangers to Give Safety Protection Advice [because there had been several robberies – Phnom Penh]
  • More Than US$200 Million Were Invested in the Field of Mobile Phone Operations in Cambodia [in the first six months of 2009, compared to the same period in 2008, when there were only US$38 million; now there are nine mobile phone companies in Cambodia]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2042, 6-7.9.2009

  • If There Is the Intention to Indict More Former Khmer Rouge Leaders, the Reasons Should Be Shown first to Samdech Hun Sen [said the director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, Mr. Chhang Youk – Prime Minister Hun Sen had previously expressed his objection, saying that more indictments could lead to social unrest]
  • A Sam Rainsy Party Activist in Stoung District Was Shot Dead by a Anonymous Person [Kompong Thom]
  • Banteay Chhma Temple and the Surrounding Area Were Assessed by UNESCO for Inclusion into the World Heritage List [Banteay Meanchey]
  • The Head of the Prek Leap Police Post Was Removed [after there were robberies of gold sellers in his area] and the Heads of the [76] Police Posts [in Phnom Penh] Were Warned [by the head of the Phnom Penh police, Mr. Touch Naroth]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #485, 6-8.9.2009

  • The Asian Human Rights Organization Called on the Cambodian Government to Implement International Human Rights Standards and the Paris Peace Agreements [on 4 September 2009, after the prime minister had criticized NGOs for working for money]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6748, 7.9.2009

  • Cambodian, Vietnamese, and Thai Journalists Met to Strengthen the Links between Journalists; the Press Is an Important Fundament of Democracy [said the Minister of Information, Mr. Khieu Kanharith]
  • Strong Waves Took the Lives of Two Girls, One Survived, and Two Boys Are Missing [Sihanoukville]
  • An Old Woman Was Raped and Killed by [an anonymous] Murderer – and a Boy Slept and Hugged His Grandmother’s Body [before he found out – Poipet]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4992, 6-7.9.2009

  • Reactions to the Sentences on Three Young People to Serve One Year in Prison on the Accusation of Being ‘Gambling Agents’
  • The Judge Nhean Sovann Is Sued [by a man who was accused of assault and of vandalism] at the Ministry of Justice, and at the Supreme Council of the Magistracy Regarding the Detention of a Person; [this] Judge Ordered a Detainee’s Side to Change a Lawyer and to Deposit US$2,000 in Exchange for a Release [Kompong Cham]
  • A Survey [conducted by a group of mathematicians] Shows that Teachers and Students Support the Use of Calculators in Class

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1788, 7.9.2009

  • A Researcher [Professor Paul Collier from the University the Oxford] Said that Cambodia Is Among the [58] Poorest Countries, Due to an Improper Management of Natural Resources
  • The Sam Rainsy Party Calls for Hunting down the Murderer That Shot and Killed an Activist [in Kompong Thom]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

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