Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Bodyguard maintains innocence in Sarath trial hearing

Bodyguard maintains innocence in Sarath trial hearing

Thong Sarath’s former bodyguards Kouy Chanthol (left) and Meas Sambath (centre) leave the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday after questioning.
Thong Sarath’s former bodyguards Kouy Chanthol (left) and Meas Sambath (centre) leave the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday after questioning. Pha Lina

Bodyguard maintains innocence in Sarath trial hearing

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday continued the trial of disgraced tycoon Thong Sarath and five of his bodyguards, who stand accused of orchestrating and carrying out the November 2014 murder of business rival Ung Meng Cheu.

Yesterday’s hearing focused on the testimony of bodyguard Mean Sambath, who has been charged as an accomplice in the case after allegedly tailing the victim the night of the shooting, but has denied his involvement. Sarath remained absent from the hearing yesterday, with his lawyers citing health reasons.

“I never heard of tycoon Ung Meng Cheu. My neighbour just showed me the video [of the killing] on the 23rd [of November],” Sambath said yesterday, referring to CCTV footage showing Meng Cheu being gunned down that circulated after the murder.

Like co-defendant Kouy Chanthol, who maintained his innocence in previous hearings, Sambath said that on November 22, suspected gunman Sean Veasna was absent from work.

That evening, co-accused Ly Sao – who died in pre-trial detention – went out with Sarath’s brother, though Sambath said he did not know when he returned. The fifth alleged co-conspirator is Chhun Chetra.

Under questioning from the judges, Sambath also testified that he could not identify the gunman and getaway driver in the CCTV footage.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court yesterday upheld the two-and-a-half-year illegal weapons possession sentences handed down to Sarath’s parents – Thong Chamroeun and Keo Sary – last year. The weapons were found during searches of the couple’s properties during the manhunt for their son.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all