Tycoon Thong Sarath failed to appear at a court hearing last Friday on charges of masterminding a murder due to illness, his lawyer said yesterday.
Ung Meng Cheu, a fellow business tycoon and Oknha, was shot dead in November 2014, allegedly at the behest of Sarath.
Sarath is accused of initiating the assassination, while his four bodyguards are also facing charges – Sieng Veasna with premeditated murder and Meas Sambath, Koy Chanthol, Chun Chetra with being accomplices to the crime.
Tuot Lux, Thong Sarath’s defense attorney, said his client – who became a fugitive in 2014 before he was arrested and convicted of possessing illegal weapons – could not attend the hearing as he had problems with his blood pressure and his heart.
“I am not sure of medical terms, but he also had some kind of stomach ache. He is still getting treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital,” Lux said.
“If he is well, he should attend because it is he who loses out if he is absent.”
Koy Chanthol denied the charges against him during his testimony, the only one heard on Friday due to time constraints. The trial resumes on August 8.