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Alleged bail jump foiled

Fugitive tycoon Thong Sarath's parents, Thong Chamroen and Keo Sary.

Alleged bail jump foiled

Fugitive tycoon Thong Sarath’s parents have been remanded into custody once more after they were detained for allegedly violating the conditions of their bail.

Thong Chamroeun and Keo Sary were arrested at about 10pm on Sunday in Prey Veng province’s Peam Ror district while they were apparently travelling in an ambulance to Vietnam for medical treatment, police said.

Prosecutor Va Sakada said the couple was sent to Prey Sar prison after they were questioned by police yesterday morning.

“They have violated the obligations that the judge ordered them to be bound to as part of the conditions of their bail. They have not complied with their bail,” she said.

Judge Ly Sok Leng declined to comment yesterday, but court documents show he ordered the detention of the couple yesterday and for the director of Prey Sar prison to accommodate them following the court hearing.

Chamroeun and Sary were arrested in early December during a manhunt aimed at capturing their son Thong Sarath, owner of the Borey 999 development project, who has since been charged with masterminding the murder of Shimmex Group owner Ung Meng Cheu on November 22. Sarath remains at large.

Leaving the courtroom yesterday afternoon, Chamroeun and Sary declined to comment on the alleged violation.

Sarath’s parents were released on bail on February 7 after complaining of ill health. Their release came after the Court of Appeal had rejected their bail request on January 20.

A day after the couple’s bail request was denied, police seized three AK-47 assault rifles, a pistol and ammunition in raids on properties owned by Chamroeun and Sary.

Van Sotheara, an employee of the family’s Borey 999 company, said that Chamroeun suffered from heart disease, liver disease and hypertension, for which he regularly travelled to Vietnam for treatment.

“He had these types of disease for a long time and he has his own doctor in Vietnam. He has gone to have a check-up very often, even before he was accused [of a crime],” Sotheara said, speaking outside the court yesterday.

Sy Satya, a lawyer representing the defence, claimed that although his clients had intended to travel to Vietnam for medical treatment, they had decided to return to Phnom Penh after a family member said a treatment room was available at Calmette Hospital.

“When they were arrested, they were coming back, because their relatives told them that they could be treated as well at Calmette Hospital,” he said.

“In Chamroeun’s condition, if the court continues to keep on postponing the hearing, I think he will die,” he added.

Defence lawyer Morn Keosovin said that the family’s legal team was preparing to apply to the court for permission for the couple to travel to Vietnam for medical treatment.

“We did not know that they tried to go to Vietnam [on Sunday]. We just found out at 10pm last night. We will examine the proposed bail again and ask if they can go for treatment in Vietnam,” Keosovin said.

Five of Sarath’s bodyguards have been arrested and charged for their alleged involvement in the public murder of Meng Cheu. Chhun Chetra, 35, was arrested on February 11 and charged as an accomplice. He joined Seang Veasna, 44, the alleged gunman; Ly Sao, 43, the alleged getaway driver; Meas Sambath, 27, and Kouy Chanthol, 29, both of whom allegedly tailed Meng Cheu’s car before the shooting.

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