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Supreme Court hears case of $10,000 Battambang theft

Supreme Court hears case of $10,000 Battambang theft

The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard the case of three people convicted of stealing $10,000 from a Battambang company in 2015.

Since only one of the three had been sent to prison and ordered to repay the money – and is unable to do so – the firm’s owner is seeking repayment from, and harsher sentences for, the other two, who were convicted of being accomplices but were given suspended sentences.

The provincial court in 2015 sentenced Loeung Bunnat, 28, to seven years in prison, while his accomplices, husband and wife Chhuon Bunroth and Nuth Sreysros, were each handed down five year suspended prison terms.

According to the court report, when the main suspect, Loeung Bunnat, 28, was employed by a company in the province, he provided a guarantor’s letter signed by Bunroth and Sreysros.

The letter stated that if Bunnat was to steal money from the company, Bunroth and Sreysros would compensate the firm. Based on this contract, company owner Chhou Fing agreed to employ Bunnat as a salesman.

Bunnat then stole $12,273 from money he collected from customers and the company demanded that Bunroth and Sreysros repay the debt.

The report said in an attempt to satisfy Fing, the accused made a fake document, containing Bunroth and Sreysros’ thumbprints, to transfer a plot of land to the company. But the land had already been sold to another party.

In 2016, the court report said, in order to obtain an official land title, Fing took the document to be certified with local authorities in Battambang province but was told that it was fake.

He then filed a complaint to the Military Police requesting Bunnat’s arrest.

The case was heard by Battambang provincial court and a verdict was handed down on March 30, 2017.

Bunnat was sentenced to seven years in prison on charges of breach of trust, faking public documents, use of fake documents and use of a fake stamp.

Bunroth and Sreysros were each given five-year suspended prison sentences, charged with being accomplices. They took their case to the Appeal Court but the provincial court’s decision was upheld.

At the Supreme Court hearing on Wednesday, Bunnat told the judge: “I committed the crime alone and Chhuon Bunroth and Nuth Sreysros were not involved. I would also like the Supreme Court to reduce my sentence.”

Bunroth and Sreysros confirmed to the judge that they had provided their thumbprints and acted as guarantors for Bunnat in order to help him get the job, but said they did not know that Bunnat would cheat the company.

Prosecutor Chhuon Chantha said Fing had filed a complaint to the Supreme Court as he could not accept the provincial court’s previous verdict.

There were three perpetrators, he said, but the court had only ordered Bunnat to pay compensation. “So, please consider the facts in accordance with the law,” Chantha said.

Fing’s lawyer, Chan Rapisith, said his client could not accept the previous ruling because the lower court had only ordered only one person to pay compensation.

Representing Bunnat, Tha Sokha said since his client had confessed his guilt, he would like to court to reduce his sentence.

Presiding judge Kong Srim said the verdict would be delivered on March 22.

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