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NagaWorld casino murder trial ramps up

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Chinese national He Ming Chai (C), 36, enters Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

Chinese national He Ming Chai (C), 36, enters Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

The first witness to take the stand regarding the murder of a Chinese gambler at NagaWorld casino, allegedly over an unpaid debt, maintained his innocence and denied any knowledge of the murder yesterday.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court began the trial yesterday of three men over the 2010 murder of Zou Jian Chang, 44. Zou was found dead in his room at NagaWorld on November 18, 2010, after borrowing about $3,000 from Wu Wen Hsiang, 34, Qian Yue Fei, 29, and He Ming Chai, 44.

The court charged Wu with intentional murder, and Qian and He are charged as accomplices.

“I have not committed, nor am involved with or aware of his death,” He said. “I was aware that he was murdered after I was arrested by the police.”

He did admit that he had gone to NagaWorld with Zou near the time of his death and, according to He, Zou borrowed the US$3,000 from Wu.

Kao Soupha, He’s defence lawyer, said that He could not have been involved in the murder because based on security camera footage.

“There was no real proof or witnesses to show that He Ming Chai had been involved or had committed offences as accused. Therefore, I would like to ask the court to release him,” he said.

Zou Jian Chang’s family and lawyer were not present at the court yesterday. They could not be contacted for comments.

The verdict will be announced on August 14.

To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at reaksmeykongkea.buth@phnompenhpost.com

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