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Cambodian ex-governor wanted over shooting surrenders

Published 08/08/2015

Chhouk Bandith turned himself in for arrest in Phnom Penh, police said
Chhouk Bandith turned himself in for arrest in Phnom Penh, police said

A former Cambodian governor convicted of shooting and wounding three female workers during a 2012 protest has surrendered to authorities after more than two years on the run, police said.

Chhouk Bandith, former governor of Bavet town in the eastern province of Svay Rieng, turned himself in for arrest in the capital, Phnom Penh, according to the website of Cambodia's national police.

Bandith had been sentenced to 18 months in prison after being convicted of "unintentional violence" in the shooting of the three workers, who were among a crowd of 1,000 demonstrating for better working conditions and benefits outside their factory, which made footwear.

He had gone into hiding before his conviction was affirmed by an appeals court in November 2013, which came after charges had originally been dropped.

Bandith was demoted after being named the prime shooting suspect on the basis of eyewitness testimony.

Saturday's police announcement said that Bandith confessed to the crime and had been sent to Svay Rieng to serve his prison term.

The arrest comes as activists from the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party are facing a legal crackdown, with more than a dozen either charged with, or convicted of, insurrection in connection with a political protest a year ago that turned violent.

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