If you are concerned that the days when Thailand’s leaders and anyone with stocks of ready cash can escape jail in this country are coming to an end; or if you are worried that your work force’s pay demands will cut into your profits – then relax. This story is for you.

If you are worried that your entertainment’s bill is getting too high, and that the local taxes on wine are affecting your life style – then this story is for you too.

If that ‘girlfriend’ is costing you more than a Knightsbridge hooker – this is for you too.

If you work for an agency concerned about the sexual abuse of children yet at the same time want to run a ‘girly bar’ pimping out slightly older young women to foreigners – then this is the place to do it.

Go to Cambodia!

Many Pattaya expats already have. This of course means that the reputation of Phnom Penh as one of the most tranquil riverside capital cities in the world will soon be up for grabs.

But there are still a few years left before local contempt issues –  their contempt for you and your contempt for them – now one of Thailand’s major problems with more and more assaults being reported weekly – will rise to the fore.

In Cambodia, which apparently has sold most of its seaboard for development, bulldozed families out of their homes for profit, and where you will not need to call in the mounted police to sort out striking workers, life is still very good on a foreigner’s pocket.

Chhouk Bandith
British strikers could go and sit on a beach – if they had the cash

In the town of Bavet it seems the former local governor (to us Mayor) was able to do most things.

This week the conviction of the former Governor of this town Chhouk Bandith for shooting three garment factory workers there was upheld.

The news seems to have been received as a victory.  Well, I suppose in a way it was. But Chhouk Bandith shot into a crowd of workers at the Koaway Textile Plant who were demanding better work conditions.

The plants supplies to PUMA.

And what was he charged with?  Unintentionally injuring……  Er, why did he not fire into the air?

These ridiculous charges and verdicts are a mark of Cambodian politics and actually at one stage the case against Chhouk Bandith was abandoned completely.

Here’s the latest release from the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights – (I sort of sympathise with them and am grateful that Murdoch was not allowed to shoot me on the picket line in Wapping outside News International, way back when. I later went to picket on the beach in Phuket.)

The Cambodian Centre for Human Rights (“CCHR”) deplores today’s decision of the Court of Appeal to uphold the conviction of Chhouk Bandith for ‘acts of unintentional injuries’ and his sentence to 18 months’ imprisonment, rather than changing the charges to more accurately reflect the nature of the crimes committed. 

In its Media Comment dated 20 April 2012 (‘No Justice in Bandith’s Country’), CCHR already criticized the negligible charges brought against Chhouk Bandith.

Chhouk Bandith, the ex-governor of Bavet, in Svay Rieng province, was accused of shooting three female factory workers who were taking part in a protest outside the Kaoway Sports Ltd Factory on 20 February 2012. He was charged with ‘acts of unintentional injuries’ under Article 236 of the Penal Code 2009, which covers injuries resulting from “imprudence, carelessness or negligence,” despite evidence suggesting nothing less than attempted murder.  

Brought to you by the CPP

Although the Svay Rieng Provincial Court dropped Chhouk Bandith’s case in December 2012, the Court of Appeal demanded in March 2012 that the charges be reinstated and his case was re-tried by the provincial court in June 2013, in abstentia.  

On 25 June 2013, Chhouk Bandith was found guilty in first instance of shooting Buot Chenda, Keo Near and Nuth Sakhorn and sentenced to 18 months in prison. He was also ordered to pay a 38 million riel fine. Both the defence and the civil parties appealed the decision. Chhouk Bandith has still not been arrested. 

CCHR President Ou Virak comments: 

A Flying Sporran Comment

“Impunity is playing extra-time in Cambodia. Today’s decision is a reminder that Cambodia’s justice system is neither free, nor fair. There are two justice systems in Cambodia: one for the political elite and the well-connected, and one for everyone else. Chhouk Bandith’s sentence seriously underestimates the gravity of the act, and despite having been convicted, he is still at large, walking free. Meanwhile, people like jailed land rights activist Yorm Bopha, who has already spent 427 days in prison for doing nothing more than exercising her rights to freedom of speech and assembly, suffer the consequences of an unjust judicial system that perpetuates a culture of impunity.”

Pictures: Phnom Penh Post


  1. Unfortunately, I see no change on the horizon for these SEA fiefdoms. Time to get out while the getting is good and chalk it up to mistakes make for experience. I do have a new found appreciation for my own country and find I'm glad to be an American and to have such a country to go back to.

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