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Deputy in court over village chief’s murder

Deputy in court over village chief’s murder

A deputy village chief from the capital’s Por Sen Chey district faced trial at Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday over allegations that he murdered his superior in a bitter struggle for power.

Heng Kesaror, presiding judge at the court, said Sar Rim, deputy chief of Trapaing Anhchanh village, was accused of killing the village’s chief, 54-year-old Chan Sophal, in October 2012.

“He had been in a dispute with the victim relating to his work and duties in the village,” Kesaror said.

“He wanted to become chief of the village,” he added.

Rim stands accused of beating Sophal to death with a wooden stick while he was patrolling the village on a motorbike on the night of October 12, 2012, according to the judge’s findings.

The prosecution has charged Rim with “intentional murder”, which would carry a prison sentence of between 10 and 15 years if he is found guilty.

Yim Sarann, Por Sen Chey district police chief, said Rim was arrested on August 17, 2013, following an argument with his wife, after which she lodged a complaint.

“Police knew that he killed Sophal after he had an argument with his wife, where he beat her and threatened to kill her [and] told her that he killed the village chief,” Sarann said.

“He threatened to kill his wife as he had killed the village chief. He told his wife that no one would dare to arrest him if he killed her,” he added.

During the trial yesterday, Rim said he had argued with Sophal over who should be in control of the village, but denied the charges of murder.

“I did not kill him [and] I do not know who [did]. I saw his body and his motorbike on the road and I also reported this to the police,” he said.

“I am an innocent person. I would like to ask the court to drop the charges and release me,” he added.

The verdict is due to be handed down on July 28.

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