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‘Freedom Fighter’ Faces Life In Prison

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A Long Beach man who is president of the Cambodian Freedom Fighters was convicted Wednesday of conspiring to kill in a foreign country. Yasith Chhun, a U.S. citizen, held fund raisers at the Queen Mary in Long Beach and orchestrated the Nov. 24, 2000 attack on Phnom Penh, with rifles, grenades and rockets, prosecutors said.

Chhun was convicted of four felonies after a 10-day trial. He went to the border of Cambodia and Thailand in October 1998 and met with Cambodian military officers who opposed the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen. There they founded the Cambodian Freedom Fighters group and Chhun was named its president. He agreed to raise money to buy weapons to overthrow the Cambodian government.

Several Cambodian police officers and civilians were wounded in the attack on Phnom Penh, and three CFF members were killed, prosecutors said. About 200 CFF members attacked the Ministry of Defense, the Council of Ministers and a military building.

Chhun faces up to life in prison without parole at his Sept. 8 sentencing. He and his wife, Sras Pech, face a second indictment accusing them of running a fraudulent tax preparation business in Long Beach. That trial is scheduled for July 1.

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