A top general, now the former deputy chief of staff of the national police, has been jailed in Cambodia over hosting a party in violation of coronavirus lockdown. His fellow revelers received jail terms as well.
Major General Ung Chanthuok was sentenced to 12 months behind bars by a Phnom Penh court on Friday. The high-ranking official was caught earlier this month partying with two other men amid a lockdown in the Cambodian capital, which was imposed from April 15 to 28.
The two other attendees of the ill-fated party received 18-month jail terms. Along with the prison time, all three men were fined $1,250 each. Chanthuok was previously fired from the national police and had his rank removed.
The tough sentences come under a new strict law, passed by the country’s parliament back in March. The legislation envisions jail terms of up to three years for quarantine violators, as well as sentences of up to 10 years for those leaving hospitals while infected or deliberately spreading coronavirus.
Cambodia has employed extremely tough anti-coronavirus measures, keeping the pandemic largely under control until late February. Since then, the country saw its tally surge from some 500 to over 12,600 cases, including all 91 of its deaths.
Enforcement of the recent quarantine in Phnom Penh involved extreme thought policing, including arrests of the non-compliant and even beatings with rattan canes. Despite an outcry by local rights groups, the country’s police insisted such measures were absolutely needed to protect public health.
“The Phnom Penh administration has decided that no one is allowed to leave their homes because the area is at risk of infections,” a police spokesman said last week. “A small number of people didn’t listen, and we must take measures to save their lives.”
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