FOUR killers have been given life sentences for the murder of the father and brother of a labour ministry official in a botched robbery, a judge said yesterday.
Former bodyguard Yin Bunthoeurn, 38, Thy Sarom, 31, Thy Khim Thou, 25, and Srey Meng Hak, 29, were all found guilty of murdering Hem Veth – the father of the director of the Employee and Manpower Department at the Ministry of Labour – and his youngest son Hem Bunnak on January 26 in Koh Dach commune in the capital’s Khsach Kandal district.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court judge Hor Vandy said yesterday that he sentenced the murders at a hearing on Friday.
“They were each sentenced to a life imprisonment and fined 100 million riel [US$25,000] in compensation for the intentional murder of two people,” he said.
Military officers Yi Sokmeng, 37, and Ream Choeurn, 54, and 36-year-old tailor Kim Eth were found guilty of possessing ammunition used in the crime.
“They were sentenced to a year in jail each and fined 500,000 riel,” Hok Vandy said.
Deputy court prosecutor Top Chhunlong added that the four killers had boarded a motor boat from steps on Phnom Penh’s riverside, near Psar Chas, to journey to Koh Dach at around 2:30pm on January 26. They had planned to rob Hem Veth’s house, which lay close to the Mekong river.
At 7:30pm, they crept into the home and Hem Veth was tied up at gun-point. It was alleged at a June 28 trial that Yim Bunthoeurn – who was a former employee of Hem Veth’s son at the Ministry – then shot the homeowner twice in the head before gunning down his other 31-year-old son. No money was reportedly found in the house.
The seven convicted criminals and their defence lawyers could not be reached for comment yesterday.