The Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday heard the case of a former computer teacher arrested in February for allegedly kidnapping, ransoming and murdering his 10-year-old student.
The defendant, former Worldwide School teacher Nil Saran, 19, admitted in court to killing Kong Rasy Sathya, the son of a US embassy security guard, and said he urgently needed the ransom money to pay a dowry to a local girl’s mother, who planned to marry her daughter off to someone else.
He maintained that his girlfriend, initially a suspect, was not an accomplice.
“There was only me involved in this murder,” he said.
According to witness testimony and the court’s initial investigations, Saran kidnapped Rasy Sathya after a computer lesson and drowned him at the Chumpos Ka-Ek pagoda, in Prek Thmey commune, shortly afterwards because he had started making noise.
“I smashed the boy’s head with a rock from behind, then threw him into the pond,” Saran testified.
After killing the boy, the defendant stuffed his body into the hole of a stupa, then called the victim’s family to demand a $150,000 ransom.
Kong Rasy, the father of the victim, told the court that Saran acted as though his son was still alive.
“He told me to give him $150,000. Otherwise, he would cut each of my son’s arms,” he said, adding that he couldn’t pay, and that Saran finally agreed to accept $3,500.
Saran said that he had planned to use to money to buy a motorbike to serve as a dowry.
“The suspect ordered me put the money under a white car at Butum Botey pagoda and asked me to sit near the car to get my son,” Kong Rasy said.
“I waited until 1am, but I didn’t see my son, and even the money was lost.”
Kong Rasy demanded $50,000 in damages, and asked the court to seriously punish Saran with the full weight of the law.
Presiding judge Chang Sinath said the verdict would be announced on July 18.
To contact the reporter on this story: Lieng Sarith at firstname.lastname@example.org