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Charges changed in murder that wasn’t

Khat Vannak is escorted through Phnom Penh’s Appeal Court by authorities
Khat Vannak is escorted through Phnom Penh’s Appeal Court by authorities yesterday. Vireak Mai

Charges changed in murder that wasn’t

The Appeal Court yesterday amended the charges and slashed the sentences of four men who were convicted of murder after shooting someone in a robbery in 2005, despite the fact that the victim hadn’t died.

Presiding judge Chay Chandaravan changed the intentional murder charges of Khat Vannak and Moeng Yea, both sentenced to 20 years in 2006, and Moeng Vin, sentenced to 18, to charges of violent theft and the illegal use of a weapon, and reduced their sentences to 10 years.

Accomplice and lookout Neng Vin had his 18-year sentence reduced to eight years.

“If they do not agree with the verdict, they can forward the case to the Supreme Court,” Chandaravan added.

Chandaravan said that in June 2005, the four suspects, armed with two pistols and led by Vannak, stormed into a house in Siem Reap town, stole some jewelry and shot one of the homeowners, injuring, but not killing, him. Three were arrested, but Yea escaped, and was later sentenced in absentia.

Despite the fact that the victim lived, the court originally convicted Vannak, Yea and Vin of murder, and convicted Vin as an accomplice.

In court yesterday, Vin asked for clemency, saying he had carried a gun and served as a lookout, but did not go into the house. After the robbery, he was given a necklace, he said, which he sold for $46.

Vannak also asked for his sentence to be reduced, reversing his earlier confession and insisting that he had not been involved in the robbery, but was simply a motodop hired by Yea and Vin to drive them to the house.

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