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.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen asks Cambodians to believe in government

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday asked citizens and investors to trust that the government will overcome the challenges brought about by Covid-19 and the loss of the EU’s Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme. Speaking to reporters at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh,

  • Westerdam passenger ‘never had’ Covid-19

    The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the US citizen that allegedly tested positive in Malaysia after travelling on the Westerdam was never infected with Covid-19 in the first place. In an article published in the newspaper USA Today on Friday, CDC

  • ‘Ghost staff’ found, $1.7M returned to state coffers

    The Ministry of Civil Service said more than seven billion riel ($1.7 million) in salaries for civil servants was returned to the state last year after it discovered that the books had been cooked to pay ‘ghost officials’. This is despite claims by the Ministry of

  • Woman wanted for killing own son

    Police in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district are on the lookout for a woman who allegedly hacked her son to death on Sunday in Stung Meanchey III commune. District police chief Meng Vimeandara identified the son as Chan Sokhom, 32. “The offender can’t escape forever.

  • H5N1 also poses deadly threat, ministry warns

    The Ministry of Health’s Communicable Disease Control (CDC) department has called on citizens to excise caution over H5N1 or bird flu that is spreading in the southern province of Vietnam. In a Facebook post, the department announced that it has made a series

  • Malaysia in turmoil

    Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has done it again. At the centre of two days of high drama and political manoeuvring, he has, wittingly or not, contributed to shaking Malaysia, and further causing its equities market to fall nearly three per cent. The drama