Free Martin ( need 95000 signatures)
Free Martin ( need 95000 signatures)
Why this petition matters
Martin Chan is currently detained in the Kandal provincial jail in Takhmao( since 7th of November 2019). Martin and myself (both Australian citizens) have been in Cambodia for the last 7 years. We were previously volunteering with a Korean NGO based on Cambodia, HisChild, and Martin assisted HisChild to manage a school construction project. However HisChild (or legally registered entity HIS International Services Co., Ltd [HIS]) and the Cambodian construction company (PHV) entered into a commercial dispute and subsequent arbitration in 2016 to 2017.
A newly set-up commercial arbitration body in Cambodia, the National Commercial Arbitration Centre (NCAC) (that I also understand received some assistance from Singapore in its setting-up), heard the dispute and subsequently ruled in favour of HIS against the construction company 2 vs 1, and its ruling was accepted as binding up to Cambodia’s Supreme Court level.
The arbitration was also reported in the news (https://www.phnompenhpost.com/business/commercial-arbitration-body-settles-its-first-two-cases and deemed “settled”. However the subsequent actions taken by PHV proves otherwise.
PHV leveled a criminal case against Martin in the Cambodian courts, as he was deemed to be the “face”, or the person who acted on behalf of HisChild/HIS. By leveling criminal charges against Martin, (hence turning a civil case into a criminal one), they are in actual fact trying to get a Cambodian court to rule in its favour to recoup monies they deemed lost. This also strongly suggests that the point of going for arbitration, under the NCAC, is lost.
While Martin has already left the organisation since Nov 2017 (he was a non-paid volunteer director), the company have targeted him as they believe he still represents the company/HIS. A warrant for his arrest for failing to appear at a hearing on this matter (which Martin did not receive) was issued. As the claim amount by PHV is high (USD2.9 million), in spite of lawyer's effort to free Martin according to Cambodian law, the local court has denied Martin's bail twice without giving any clear legal reasons and delayed trial upon plaintiff's last minute request. This can only be a tactic to keep Martin incarcerated as leverage, so that the company gets a settlement in its favour (from Martin or HisChild/HIS). The only legal director of HisChild/HIS has left Cambodia since Feb 2019, and is now in the Republic of Korea.
I wish to ask Australian PM HE Scott Morrison, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, HE Marise Payne, the Australia Government and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, if the Australian government can advocate for his release on bail, pending this dispute that he or HIS/HisChild has with the Cambodian Construction Company PHV. Martin as an Australian citizen, acted in good faith as a volunteer on behalf of this Korean NGO/HIS, to manage a construction project. Since this dispute is essentially between a Korean entity and a local Cambodian company, can the Australian government at least advocate for his bail release, pending the resolution of this dispute? Martin needs to pursue and prepare his case while not being incarcerated. Even if Martin and myself are subject to Cambodia law while here, would Australia stand for the basic right that its citizens should not be presumed guilty and unduly incarcerated, until tried and found so?
I wish to ask Cambodian Prime Minister HE Hun Sen, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, HE Prak Sokhonn, and Cambodian Minister of Justice HE Ang Vong Vathana, to intervene. Can the Cambodian government permit his release as well, so that NGOs, foreigners would have confidence doing business with other Cambodians, not fearing unfair/unsubstantiated accusations leveled at them should any disputes arise? Martin can continue to follow through this case with his lawyers to see a satisfactory outcome (i.e. criminal charges also dismissed, as they have no rational and legal grounds for their case except to exact revenge for the arbitration outcome), if Martin is able to be released first.
I wish to ask the past and present presidents of the National Commercial Arbitration Centre (NCAC) of Cambodia, Messrs Ros Monin and Bun Youdy, to comment on PHV’s subsequent actions, when NCAC’s arbitration had ruled against PHV’s favour; whether PHV’s actions amount to circumventing the ruling awarded by NCAC? NCAC’s ruling was deemed binding up to the Supreme Court level. Would NCAC step in and intervene in this matter, to restore its own credibility, so that the NGOs, business communities in Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and the Republic of Korea, would have confidence doing business in Cambodia?
Would the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) care to comment and help in this matter as well, as the NCAC underwent training by arbitration experts associated with the SIAC, on the outcome of NCAC’s arbitration in this matter? https://www.dfdl.com/resources/news/recent-developments-in-commercial-arbitration-in-cambodia/ Whether this is justice for my husband? Singapore is touted as a leading arbitration and dispute resolution hub. Singapore, as the trainers of the NCAC, would be well-placed to comment on the actions of the NCAC in this matter; whether the NCAC is discharging its duties ably.
Wife of Martin Chan
Australian Passport No. PB127XXXX