Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Huong found guilty of masterminding attempted murder

Huong found guilty of masterminding attempted murder

Lay Huong pleads for intervention from Prime Minister Hun Sen after being found guilty of attempted murder yesterday at Phnom Penh Municipal Court.
Lay Huong pleads for intervention from Prime Minister Hun Sen after being found guilty of attempted murder yesterday at Phnom Penh Municipal Court. Heng Chivoan

Huong found guilty of masterminding attempted murder

More than a year after her arrest and repatriation from Thailand, Lay Huong was found guilty yesterday – after a long, bizarre and salacious trial – of orchestrating the attempted rape and murder of the wife and daughter of Commerce Minister Sun Chanthol.

Lay Huong’s common-law husband, tycoon Khaou Phallaboth, was also convicted in absentia “on charges of conspiracy to commit rape and premeditated murder”, according to the verdict, which was read aloud.

“Referring to the verdict dated March 24, 2016, the court decides to sentence Lay Huong, 47, and Khaou Phallaboth to 20 years each in jail, and order that Khaou Phallaboth be arrested and put in jail,” it continued.

“The verdict is announced in front of the accused, and reserves the rights of the accused to appeal according to the law.”

Huong and Phallaboth were accused of conspiring in 2011 with maids Chan Sokha and Neang Sinath, security guard and designated hitman and rapist Sok Lak, and Seng Chenda – the second wife of Phallaboth’s father, businessman Khaou Chuly – to murder and rape Sun Sotha, who is Phallaboth’s sister, and her then-9-year-old daughter.

The group had allegedly planned for Sokha to purchase sleeping pills and hand them off to Sinath, who would use them to tranquilise Chanthol’s guard dogs and then leave open a bedroom window, clearing the way for Lak to execute the rapes and murders. The entire plan, however, was allegedly thwarted because the designated window remained closed.

Lay Huong is taken to a waiting car after being found guilty in Phnom Penh yesterday.
Lay Huong is taken to a waiting car after being found guilty in Phnom Penh yesterday. Heng Chivoan

In the first trial, however, Sokha and Sinath said they had been forced to confess to their involvement after having been threatened by authorities and Chanthol. Sokha said she had been taken to buy sleeping pills by police, who then held the pills as evidence (police in court characterised the outing as a re-enactment).

All four purported co-conspirators have been convicted despite the seeming complete absence of physical evidence. Sokha and Sinath have also since changed their stories, admitting involvement and seeking reduced sentences.

Huong has staunchly maintained her innocence, and continued to do so yesterday, accusing Chanthol of plotting against her.

“I beg Prime Minister Samdech [Hun Sen], the leader of the country. I am his citizen and I am an innocent woman,” she told reporters after leaving the courtroom. “Life is not a game. His Excellency Sun Chanthol prepared [the case] to do harm to me, to make me end up in prison. What a human does, God knows. I would like Samdech Techo to intervene – don’t make my life a game.”

A request for comment from Chanthol was not returned as of press time yesterday.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Is Cambodia’s travel sector in for another cheerless holiday season?

    The travel and tourism sector was heaving back to life as borders started to reopen, promising a festive vibe for the holidays and New Year. But Omicron and other Covid-related issues are threatening to close the year on a bleak note ‘Seems [like] Covid-19 won’

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Hun Sen: Manet to be candidate for prime minister

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has reaffirmed that his oldest son Hun Manet will be his successor as Prime Minister if he is elected. Speaking during the inauguration of a new sewage treatment facility in Preah Sihanouk province on December 2, Hun Sen said Manet will be