The Kandal provincial court yesterday sentenced two men to life imprisonment for the murder of three women in a coffee shop last October.
A well-placed source said the life sentences, handed down by presiding judge Sin Virak, were the harshest penalties ever imposed by the Kandal provincial court.
Sok Seng, 44, and Bun Vutha, 22, were also found guilty of possessing an illegal weapon.
A third man, former soldier Ton Sarom, 30, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for conspiring to murder.
The women, identified as Sok Seng’s 47-year-old aunt, Sok Koeu, her daughter, 24-year-old Seng Muoy Kea, and a 17-year-old waitress, were tied up and shot in the head at a coffee shop on the Takhmao roundabout, in Kandal’s Takhmao town, on October 8. Their bodies were not found until the next day.
After the shootings, Kandal provincial police chief Iv Chamroeun said it was thought Sok Seng had killed the women after his aunt refused to lend him US$2,000.
Am Sam Ath, monitoring supervisor for the rights group Licadho, said the life sentences set a good example and would serve as a deterrent to other would-be criminals.
“It is a rare case when the court sentences the perpetrators to life imprisonment,” he said.