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Court to hear doctor’s appeal in HIV scandal

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times Share:
Mr Chrin admitted reusing syringes on multiple patients. At least 300 villagers were infected with the HIV virus. KT/Mai Vireak

The Court of Appeal will today hear the case of Yem Chrin, the unlicensed doctor who spread HIV to hundreds of villagers in Battambang province in 2014.

Mr Chrin, now 58, was sentenced to 25 years in jail by the Battambang provincial court for spreading the virus to at least 300 villagers in Roka commune by reusing syringes on multiple patients.

He was convicted in December 2015 of torture and cruel behaviour resulting in death, intentionally spreading HIV and practising medicine without a licence.

Touch Tharith, deputy secretary-general and spokesman of the Appeal Court, confirmed that the case would be heard today.

Ouk Vandeth, Mr Chrin’s lawyer, said he was not sure yet whether Mr Chrin would attend the hearing.

“I will join to defend him in the hearing room tomorrow,” Mr Vandeth said yesterday.

“Last week, I visited him at Battambang provincial prison and his health is fine.”

Sam Ol Phearith, director of the Battambang provincial prison, declined to comment.

Chrin Tola, 25, Mr Chrin’s daughter, said she was also not sure if her father would be appearing for the appeal.


Mr Chrin was arrested in December 2014 and taken into protective custody, with the authorities fearing he might be lynched by residents of Roka village.

During the 2015 trial, he admitted to routinely reusing syringes but denied intentionally spreading the virus.

Health Department officials also confirmed before the trial that Mr Chrin was not the only unlicensed doctor operating in the area.

An Roeun, an official with Buddhism for Development who works with HIV-infected villagers, said at least 25 deaths had been linked to Mr Chrin’s case. In 2017, two more people were found to have HIV in the area, and both said they had used the services of local unlicensed doctors, Mr Roeun said, declining to comment further.

Roka commune chief Sim Pov said representatives of infected villagers would attend the hearing today.

“I heard that there are five representatives of victims that went to Phnom Penh on Wednesday because they want to join the hearing,” he said yesterday.

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