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

  • Restrictions re-imposed in capital as Covid cases surge

    Amid the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has shown no sign of subsiding with 750 infections and 10 deaths reported on June 2 alone, the Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has decided to re-impose the suspension of all occupations and business activities deemed as posing high risk of

  • Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway 51% complete

    The construction of the nearly $2 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway is 51.35 per cent complete and is expected to be finished in 2023, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of state Vasim Sorya. Invested in by Cambodian PPSHV Expressway Co Ltd, the first expressway in

  • First 7-Eleven store to open mid-June, ambassador says

    Thai retail conglomerate CP All Pcl will open Cambodia’s first 7-Eleven convenience store in mid-June, Cambodian ambassador to Thailand Ouk Sorphorn told The Post on June 1. The Bangkok-listed 7-Eleven franchise operator, the retail arm of Charoen Pokphand Group Co Ltd, granted CP All (Cambodia)

  • With herd immunity likely in 2022, is Cambodia ready to reopen for tourism?

    The government aims to inoculate 80 per cent of the target population by June next year, giving it a head start among regional peers to reboot the sector but first, it has to do a few things to up its game A sign on a glass

  • US embassy guard gets Covid despite two doses of Pfizer jab

    The Covid-19 tracking commission on June 4 said a security guard at the US embassy in Phnom Penh had contracted the novel coronavirus, despite having received a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot two weeks ago. Embassy spokesperson Chad Roedemeier confirmed the SARS-CoV-2 infection to The

  • US wants 'full access' to Ream Naval Base

    On June 11, the US embassy's Defense Attaché Colonel Marcus M Ferrara visited Ream Nava Base in coordination with Cambodian officials following the recent approval of Prime minister Hun Sen to allay the concerns on Chinese military presence at the base as raised by US Deputy