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Stars stripped from general in court case

A TWO-STAR general and tycoon accused of plotting to  murder a woman in an appeal case involving high-profile members of Phnom Penh’s elite has been dismissed from his position on request from Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The royal decree stripping Khaou Phalabot of his rank and sacking him as a general in the Royal Cambodian Air Force, signed by King Norodom Sihamoni on September 14, made no connection to his alleged involvement in the attempted murder his step sister Sun Sotha.

Khaou Phalabot said yesterday the dismissal was good news for him as it would allow him to focus his investment activities but declined to elaborate on why he felt he had been dismissed.

“I could not say the dismissal is related to the accusations at the court so please, you can analyse it by yourself,” he said.

Seng Chenda, the wife of engineering tycoon Khao Chuly, was found guilty by a court in February this year of attempting to murder his daughter from a previous marriage – Sun Sotha. She was sentenced along with four co-conspirators, including maid Chan Sokha, and sentenced to 20 years prison.

In a subsequent appeal hearing earlier this month, Chan Sokha accused Khao Chuly and Khaou Phalabot of plotting to murder Sun Sotha. Seng Chenda claimed during the appeal hearing that Sun Sotha’s husband Sun Chanthol had framed her by intimidating witnesses – an accusation his lawyer strongly denied.

Khaou Phalabot is the president of his father’s cement and construction company Khao Chuly Group, while Sun Chanthol is vice-chairman of the Council for the Development of Cambodia and a former minister of public works and transport.

Chhum Socheat, spokesman of Cambodia’s Ministry of National Defence, said yesterday he was aware Khaou Phalabot had been dismissed but was not privy to the reason why.

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