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Couple held for smear attempt in tycoon-student legal tussle

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The tycoon Heng Sear’s daughter and her husband. Police

Couple held for smear attempt in tycoon-student legal tussle

The Phnom Penh municipal police on May 15 arrested the daughter and son-in-law of Heng Sear, a businessman who holds the honorific Oknha, for attempting to launch an online smear campaign to help support Sear’s legal battle against ex-TV presenter Mean Pich Rita, according to a senior National Police official.

The tycoon’s daughter and her husband – identified as Taing Kim Heang and Khorn Chhundara respectively – had hired people to produce photoshopped pornographic pictures of Pich Rita, who is also a university student, and shared them on social media to make the public believe that it was actually her.

Municipal Police spokesperson San Sokseyha confirmed on May 16 that the couple was arrested and being detained for questioning.

“Our officers are still investigating, so we cannot say anything about whether they will be charged or what charges will be levelled against them. We will update the public on the status of the case later,” he said.

Sear, 60, and former Miss Grand Cambodia contestant Pich Rita, 20, have filed counter suits with Sear accusing her of theft with aggravating circumstances and the woman accusing him of attempted rape in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kork district on May 4.

Pich Rita was placed in pre-trial detention on May 11 but released on bail on May 13 with the help of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s volunteer legal team.

Sear has sought a delay in proceedings, claiming he could not appear for questioning as he remained in a hospital’s intensive care unit.

Meas Sithorn, Pich Rita’s defence lawyer, told The Post on May 16 that she had heard about the arrest of Sear’s daughter and son-in-law, but declined to comment as she was only working on the theft complaint against Pich Rita.

She said there were no new developments regarding Sear’s and Pich Rita’s complaints in court.

“She [Pich Rita] has not been resting very well the past few days since she left the detention centre. She is a young girl and may have been affected by the case. But she has been feeling a little better now that she’s been reunited with her family,” she said.

Sear could not be reached for comment on May 16.

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