The two-star general charged last month with murdering his mistress and young daughter in March has confessed to the crime, according to a judge.
Kim Marintha, a business owner and former adviser to ex-military chief Ke Kim Yan, was deported from Thailand last month after an extensive investigation led to an Interpol warrant being issued for his arrest.
“During his questioning, he confessed that he killed his [mistress] and daughter. He expressed deep regret about his mistake,” Ky Chhay, investigative judge at Phnom Penh Municipal Court, said yesterday.
Chhay added that Marintha had requested charges be dropped against his son and son-in-law, who are accused of being accessories to the murder of Va Dary and Kem Thavichda, 6, and the attempted cover-up. “He said they were not involved,” Chhay said.
Marintha declined to comment outside court yesterday.
According to Cambodia’s Penal Code, if they are found guilty, they will be sentenced to between 15 years and life in prison.
Police identified three suspects – Marintha, his son Kim Seng Rithy and his son-in-law Chea Samnang, 34, who was arrested on August 9 in Preah Sihanouk province.
Samnang had fled the capital after getting wind of the investigation and was tracked to Mondulkiri province by police before his arrest near Sihanoukville.
Seng Rithy is listed by Interpol as being charged with hiding the bodies and using illegal weapons.
The whereabouts of Marintha’s son is still unknown, and police are continuing attempts to track him down.
As well as boasting high-level political connections, Marintha held substantial business interests in the Kingdom.
An owner of the GST Express Bus Company, he is also director of the Rubber of Friendship VC Company, the Arra Best Corporation and Fataco Corporation.
On September 4, police raided the home of Marintha’s ex-wife, Eang Kanet, who claimed she had not seen the major general in “a long time”.
Despite her denials, a police officer at the scene said Marintha was thought to have been “a regular guest” at the property.