Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Oknha murder near verdict



Oknha murder near verdict

Thong Sarath’s former bodyguards Kouy Chanthol (left) and Meas Sambath, seen yesterday outside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.
Thong Sarath’s former bodyguards Kouy Chanthol (left) and Meas Sambath, seen yesterday outside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. Hong Menea

Oknha murder near verdict

Prosecutors in the murder trial of business tycoon Thong Sarath for killing rival business man Ung Meng Cheu have demanded $60 million in compensation for the victim’s family, while Sarath’s defence lawyer has accused investigating police of torturing suspects.

The trial is due to conclude today after which the judges go into deliberation. Meng Cheu, who along with his alleged killer held the royally granted title of “oknha”, or tycoon, was gunned down as he exited his Lexus on Sihanouk Boulevard near the Olympic Stadium one evening in November 2014.

“The action was very cruel,” said the plaintiff’s lawyer, Heang Makara. “I would like the court to sentence the accused heavily according to law and demand the compensation of $50 million from Thong Sarath and $10 million from the perpetrator and accomplices.”

Prosecuting lawyers also requested that the testimony of 11 witnesses, all relatives of one of the accused, be thrown out as evidence.

Sarath stands accused of ordering the hit over an alleged debt. His bodyguard Seang Veasna is accused of pulling the trigger. Other Sarath bodyguards Meas Sambath, Chhun Chetra and Kouy Chanthol are also being tried as accomplices. Another, Ly Sao, later died in prison.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Business tycoon Thong Sarath escorted by officials for his appearance at the Phnom Penh Court in 2015. Pha Lina

Defence lawyer Tuot Lux suggested that Sao died as a result of torture during his interrogation. “Why did Ly Sao die? He must have died because of torture. When he was arrested on December 3, 2014, his health was well. On December 4, when he was brought to court, he needed help with walking. Later on he was brought to hospital and died,” Lux said.

Lux called for all charges to be dropped, accused the police of manipulating the police report, and demanded that any witnesses that contributed to the report also be made to testify in court.

He also again referenced testimony from Meng Cheu’s driver who claimed his employer had never had a dispute with Sarath.

In a moment reminiscent of the OJ Simpson trial, Veasna’s lawyer requested that his client be allowed to try on the outfit that he allegedly wore during the shooting, suggesting that it wouldn’t fit his client.

“Just let him wear to see, there’s nothing wrong with that,” said lawyer Kea Eav.

The judges deliberated for 15 minutes, before deciding the clothes could be shown to the court, but Veasna couldn’t try them on.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Ministry mulls ASEAN+3 travel bubble

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to launch a travel bubble allowing transit between Cambodia and 12 other regional countries in a bid to resuscitate the tourism sector amid crushing impact of the ongoing spread of Covid-19, Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak told The Post on

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • Quarantine site in north Phnom Penh inaugurated

    A four-building quarantine centre in Phnom Penh’s Prek Pnov district was formally inaugurated on January 6. The centre can house up to 500 people, according to Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng. At the inauguration ceremony, Sreng said the municipal hall had cooperated with the Ministry

  • ‘Beware of WhatsApp fraudsters’

    The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications warned members of the public who use WhatsApp to vigilantly guard against a new trick employed by hackers that involves the use of six-digit codes sent to potential victims via the popular messaging app. The ministry said hackers could