The trial of a Royal Cambodian Armed Forces officer and a military policeman accused of teaming up to steal $1,000 in a June armed robbery in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district was held at Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday.
Presiding judge Sin Visal said Cheth Sokhom, 32, a military trumpeter, and Chheng Seiha, a 26-year-old military police officer, were charged with using a pistol to steal $1,000 from Pich Internet Shop in Psar Kandal I commune on June 4.
“They entered the internet shop while the owner was sleeping and pointed a gun at the security guard, forcing him to open the door for them to enter. After entering, they stole $1,000 and escaped from the scene,” he said.
During the raid the two alleged robbers were caught on the shop’s CCTV cameras, leading to Sokhom’s identification and detention on June 7. Seiha initially evaded capture before being picked up after the court issued a warrant for his arrest.
Both men were remanded in custody pending trial on charges of “aggravated stealing and illegal weapon use”.
Sokhom denied taking part in the theft at yesterday’s trial, alleging that Seiha had another accomplice, Sim Chan Seiha, who remains at large.
“I was not involved and did not commit this robbery as accused. I am an innocent person. I would like to ask the court to drop the charges against me and release me,” he said.
Touch Chan Sothea, Sokhom’s defence lawyer, said that footage from the cameras corroborates his story, as it shows that he never entered the shop.
“My client … is only the victim of accusations and an arrest. I would like to ask the court to release him,” she said.
Verdicts are scheduled for October 22.