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Charges in ‘incest’ murder

Chhay Thorn (right) is escorted through the car park of Phnom Penh Municipal Court
Chhay Thorn (right) is escorted through the car park of Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday. Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

Charges in ‘incest’ murder

A Phnom Penh Municipal court will pursue charges against only one of a trio initially accused in a 2012 family murder and subsequent cover-up conspiracy.

In a hearing yesterday, Chhay Thorn, 36, stood on trial for the intentional murder of his fiancee’s allegedly incestuous father Sin Hoy – a lieutenant colonel in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces’ Navy – before moving the body to disguise the killing as a suicide, presiding judge Kor Vandy stated.

“There was a dispute with the [murder] victim, because he raped his [then] 13-year-old daughter,” Vandy said.

By October 21, 2012, Hoy had been separated from his wife, Reith Ratana, now 45, for a year, following family turmoil after Hoy allegedly raped his now 20-year-old daughter when she was 13 years old, Vandy said.

On that day, Hoy returned to the house at which he once lived with his wife and daughter in Russey Keo district’s Chroy Changvar commune, intending to reconcile, said Chroy Changvar commune police chief Veng Chork.

Ratana, Thorn and Hoy’s daughter blocked the door when he tried to enter the house, which enraged Hoy, Chork said.

“Because they would not allow Hoy to enter the house, he became very angry, pulled out his gun and attempted to shoot his wife, but the gun jammed,” Chork said.

Seizing the opportunity, Chork said, Thorn disarmed Hoy, and shot him in the nape of the neck, killing him.

After Hoy’s body dropped to the floor, Thorn repositioned it, attempting to make the death appear to be a suicide, Chork said.

While police did not buy the story, all three maintained in court yesterday that Hoy had killed himself.

“I could not have killed Hoy, because I don’t know how to use a gun,” Thorn said in court. “I am the victim of the police’s accusation.”

Phnom Penh Municipal Court vice prosecutor Hor Lina yesterday dropped murder charges against Ratana and her daughter.

“Based on the evidence, witness testimony and the police report, Chhay Thorn was the only person who killed the victim,” Lina said.

A verdict is due to be handed down on February 19.

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