Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Man jailed for life over factory murder

Man jailed for life over factory murder

Man jailed for life over factory murder

A man given life in prison for killing a Chinese garment factory owner says he will appeal the “heavy” term, insisting it was his co-defendants who committed the murder.

Soy Huong, 21, broke down in tears yesterday at Phnom Penh Municipal Court after being sentenced to life in prison for slaying 44-year-old Li Zhang on May 2.

Huong was alone before presiding judge Top Chhun Heng, as his co-defendants Soy Sophea, 21 and Yim Vantha, 38, remain at large.

“The court’s decision was very heavy on me,” Huong, a garment worker, said outside court, adding he would appeal.

“I have accepted that I was involved in the victim’s murder, but I did not kill her.”

At about 6pm on May 2, Huong, Sophea and Vantha attacked Zhang in her handicraft factory, not far from Phnom Penh’s airport in Por Sen Chey district.

Hours earlier, Zhang had fired Sophea and six other employees from the workshop in Chom Chao commune’s Trapaing Thloeng village, accusing them of being bad workers.

Incensed at being dismissed without compensation, Sophea enlisted Huong, his cousin, and friend Vantha to take revenge.

Pretending to be a job seeker, Huong tricked Zhang into opening the door, allowing his accomplices to rush inside.

Armed with a cleaver, a cattle prod and a pair of scissors, the trio tortured their victim, shocked her and stabbed her in the stomach before cutting her throat and leaving her for her staff to find the next morning.

They also stole her motorbike, laptop and bag.

In an attempt to soften his role in the brutal murder, Huong, who was caught after trying to pawn the stolen laptop, shifted the blame to his co-defendants, saying he only held the victim and covered her mouth to muffle her screams.

However, Lieutenant Colonel Yim Sarann, Por Sen Chey district police chief, said Huong played an active role in the crime.

The hunt continues for Sophea and Vantha, who were given life sentences in absentia for premeditated murder under Article 200 of the Penal Code.

Top Chhun Heng said Sophea used the alias “Phea”, while Vantha was also known as “Pum”.

“The court orders their arrest. They must be brought to serve their punishment,” he added.

None of Zhang’s relatives attended the trial. Her husband, however, filed a complaint demanding justice for his wife’s slaying.

Meanwhile, 27-year-old Heng Chenda, owner of the shop where Houng pawned the laptop, who was initially arrested, has been released with police ruling he had no connection to the murder.

MOST VIEWED

  • Sihanoukville land prices skyrocketing amid breakneck development

    Sihanoukville, the Kingdom’s most famous beach destination for tourists, is seemingly becoming a paradise for Chinese investors as well. The huge influx of Chinese investors has caused property values to rise, especially the price of land, which has nearly doubled in some places near

  • US names new ambassador to Cambodia

    US President Donald Trump on Friday appointed W Patrick Murphy as the new US Ambassador to Cambodia, replacing incumbent William A Heidt. A press release posted on the White House’s website said nominee W Patrick Murphy is currently acting principal deputy assistant secretary at

  • Kingdom is at a crossroads between East, West after poll

    It was dubbed a success by caretaker prime minister Hun Sen after the electoral victory of his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), which is poised to take all seats in the National Assembly. But the July 29 national election has not been positively looked at by

  • Western poll flak is ‘pressure to take the Kingdom hostage’

    After last month’s national elections brought praise for the orderly manner they were run and managed, the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman Sok Eysan dismissed criticism from the West as a “violation of the Kingdom’s independence”. He said the attitude of