Saturday, July 23, 2016
Cambodia - Fake Medical Diploma Causes Headache
Five accused men, who are high-school professors and medical doctors, were yesterday tried by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court for allegedly forging a medical diploma issued by the Ministry of Health last year.
Chhae Vireak, the presiding judge of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, said the five accused were Chea Bunthoeun, 29, a doctor at the provincial referral hospital in Battambang province, Tum Youse, 42, a mathematics professor at Samaky Chea Sim High School in Phnom Penh, Horm Ra, 43, a physics professor at Boeng Trabek High School in Phnom Penh, Samang Piseth, 56, a medical officer at the provincial health center in Banteay Meanchey province, and Thib Bav, 55, a medical officer at the provincial health center in Battambang province.
Judge Vireak pointed out that in this case, the five accused were charged by the court’s prosecutor with “the accomplice of forgery of public documents” under articles 626 and 627 of the Penal Code, which is punishable by imprisonment from one to three years if found guilty.
Of the five accused, Mr. Bunthoeun, Mr. Youse and Mr. Piseth were arrested on August 5, 2015, while Mr. Ra and Mr. Bav remain at large.
The judge read the police report that in June 2015, Mr. Piseth hired and paid $1,200 to Mr. Bunthoeun to obtain a higher pharmacist’s diploma for him so he could open a pharmacy in Battambang province.
Judge Vireak said that in the period of 10 days after offering $1,200 to Mr. Bunthoeun, Mr. Piseth received the diploma, which appeared to be issued and recognized by the Royal University of Health Sciences and the Ministry of Health, from Mr. Bunthoeun. Mr. Piseth later took it to get it stamped by the Ministry of Health in accordance with the ministry’s law before applying to establish his pharmacy business.
“Samnang Piseth was later arrested after the department of pharmacies at the Ministry of Health examined and found he had forged the ministry’s certificate and used the forged pharmacist’s diploma,” he said.
The judge added that because of Mr. Piseth’s confession, police were able to identify the other four accused and arrest Mr. Bunthoeun and Mr. Youse on August 5. But Mr. Ra and Mr. Bav escaped.
At yesterday’s trial, Mr. Bunthoeun and Mr. Youse admitted their mistakes, but said they did not forge the ministry’s diploma as accused. They said they were merely the middlemen and were just working on commission from Mr. Piseth.
They asked the court to reduce their sentences so they could resume their jobs.
Mr. Bunthoeun said he had received $1,200 from Mr. Piseth as a fee for making a higher pharmacist’s diploma for him. But he took only $600 for his own service. The remaining $600 he gave to Mr. Youse to make the diploma.
“I acknowledge that I received $1,200 from Mr. Samnang Piseth for the work service. But I kept only $600 for my own service. The other $600 I gave to Mr. Tum Youse for his work,” he told the court.
“I did not know that the diploma was faked. I found out only after I was arrested,” Mr. Bunthoeun added.
Mr. Youse said he received $600 from Mr. Bunthoeun but he only kept $200 for his own services. The remaining $400 he said he gave to Mr. Ra, his friend who was ultimately responsible for making the diploma for Mr. Piseth.
He added that the person who made the forged diploma was Mr. Ra, who is still at large.
“I did not make or produce the diploma. Mr. Horm Ra did it,” Mr. Youse said.
“I know my mistake now. I would like to ask the court to reduce my sentence and give me a suspended sentence so that I will be able to resume my work and to make money to support my family,” he added.
Their verdicts are due on the afternoon of July 13.
Buth Reaksmey Kongkea