The Appeal Court on Friday ordered the release on bail of a Poipet City opposition leader accused of striking a border officer with his SUV in a case in which video footage appeared to show the car barely moving and the official faking an injury.
Mang Puthy, the CNRP’s deputy head in Poipet City, was charged with aggravated intentional violence for allegedly slamming his car into Chhean Pisith, deputy chief of the Poipet International Border Checkpoint.
Mr. Pisith has since been the subject of ridicule on social media after video footage was uploaded appearing to show him flopping to the ground dramatically as the car edged toward him, departing in a neck brace, and then being seen days later walking normally at a Thai guesthouse.
The opposition official’s lawyer, Kim Socheat, said that Appeal Court Presiding Judge Nguon Rattana decided to release Mr. Puthy on bail.
“The presiding judge decided to release him on bail with the conditions that he cannot change his address, must show up every time he is summoned and he will be under court supervision,” Mr. Socheat said.
“The verdict ordered he be released immediately,” he said, adding that the provincial authorities needed to be informed before he can leave jail.
Following the announcement by the Banteay Meanchey provincial governor on Thursday that border-crossing fees had been canceled — which some criticized as an attempt to defuse anger over Mr. Puthy’s arrest — hundreds of Cambodians were briefly prevented from entering Thailand on Friday.
Border police chief Sim Sam Ath said Thai immigration officials had not been informed of the fee cancellation, but that the situation was swiftly resolved.
“We already dealt with Thai authorities,” Mr. Sam Ath said. “Everything is going as normal.”
odom@cambodiadaily.com
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