Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Four dead suspects in botched robbery in capital identified

Four dead suspects in botched robbery in capital identified

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
One of the four armed men who attempted to rob and kidnap a wealthy family in the Borey Angkor gated community in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district on March 1 was killed at the scene. GRK

Four dead suspects in botched robbery in capital identified

The ringleader of a gang who attempted to rob and kidnap a wealthy family in the Borey Angkor gated community in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district on March 1 was formerly employed by the family as a driver, according to a report from the Phnom Penh municipal police on March 2.

The report identified Oem Sovannarith, 21, as the man who had initiated the plans to rob and kidnap his former employer and his family.

His former employer Mao Hour, 58, was previously head of a branch of Electricite du Cambodge in Kampong Cham. After retiring from that position Hour had begun working in the private sector making electricity supply bids in some areas of Phnom Penh and the provinces.

The report noted that after quitting his job the suspect had later returned to ask him if he could resume work as his driver but Hour had already hired someone else for the job and they turned him away.

Having been spurned by his former employer, Sovannarith recruited three accomplices to join him in his plans to kidnap, rob and kill up to 10 people – eight family members and two servants still working at the house.

Sovannarith’s plans were somehow leaked to Hour’s family and when the suspects arrived to carry out their robbery, kidnap and murder plot they found municipal police forces there waiting for them.

“First, [the suspects] arrived at [Hour’s] house and forced him to write a million dollar cheque at gunpoint. They had then planned on taking Hour’s daughter with them to the bank as a hostage.

Leaving nothing to chance, the plotters had decided to leave one of their group behind at Hour’s house with him so that when the other three criminals and Hour’s daughter went to withdraw the money at the bank he would be there to force Hour to answer his phone when the bank called asking for his approval to cash the cheque, the official report claims.

According to the police report the four plotters had intended to murder all 10 of their victims once they had gotten a hold of the money from the bank and also cleaned out all of the money and jewellery in Hour’s household safe.

The gang’s plan was foiled when police forces arrived on the scene and a shoot-out erupted between the opposing sides. All four of the suspects – armed with modern AK-47 rifles – were killed in the gun battle.

Hour and his family were shaken but unharmed and no police were injured in the operation.

Besides the ringleader Sovannarith, the police identified another suspect, Ry Pisey, 30, a resident of Kampong Samnanh commune in Kandal province’s Takhmao town.

The two remaining plotters have not yet been identified. The bodies of the four are currently being kept at Tuek Thla Pagoda in the Sen Sok district where the shoot-out took place.

Ung Serey Kut, commander of the Bodyguard Command, has issued a letter denying rumours that Sovannarith was formerly a member of the bodyguard forces holding the rank of major.

The letter said the insignia card of the Bodyguard Command that Sovannarith was using was a forgery.


  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Businesses in capital told to get travel permit amid lockdown through One Window Service

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has issued guidelines on how to get travel permission for priority groups during the lockdown of Phnom Penh, directing private institutions to apply through the municipality's One Window Service and limit their staff to a mere two per cent. In

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and