PORTLAND (AP) – A gubernatorial pardon that would have staved off a Portland man’s deportation to Cambodia has been put on hold following his arrest this week for violating probation.

Gov. John Baldacci had planned to approve the pardon Thursday for Touch Rin Svay, 25, but changed his mind after learning of the arrest, gubernatorial spokesman Lee Umphrey said.

“The governor finds the new information very unfortunate,” Umphrey said. “As strong as the governor was inclined to sign the order, with this new information, he is very hesitant to move forward.”

Svay was arrested Tuesday by his probation officer, Scott Landry, and booked into the Cumberland County Jail. Svay told Landry that he changed his address without notification, drank alcohol and drove a car, all prohibited activities under terms of his probation, Umphrey said.

The arrest came after Paul Curbow, who claims to be a former friend of Svay’s, told Landry that he had been beaten by a gang of Svay’s friends in April. Curbow said Svay was there at the time and did not stop them. Curbow also said that Svay later visited him in the hospital and asked him not to tell police that he had been present that night.

“He was begging, saying, Please don’t say nothing about me,”‘ Curbow said. “He left me lying in the street, and all he cared about was himself.”

Curbow said he came forward following news accounts about Svay’s likely pardon. He said he thinks Svay should be sent back to Cambodia.

Svay, who was born in a refugee camp outside Cambodia, came to this country at age 4. He served in the Marines but never became a U.S. citizen, making him subject to deportation after his manslaughter conviction in a 2001 drunken driving accident that killed his sister, Sary. He served 18 months of a six-year sentence and has been on probation for the past year.

Neither Svay nor his immigration lawyer, Beth Stickney, would comment on the case Wednesday.

Curbow’s statement could lead to witness tampering charges against Svay, and Cumberland County District Attorney Stephanie Anderson said her office would review the case.

“I am aware that he was arrested for a probation violation that included some alleged conduct that could result in new criminal charges,” she said. “We will look into them once we get the paperwork.”

Neither Svay nor his immigration lawyer, Beth Stickney, would comment on the case Wednesday.


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