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Suspects 'confess' role in tycoon slaying

Police mark where they find shell casings following the shooting death of local businessman Ung Meng Cheu on Saturday
Police mark where they find shell casings following the shooting death of local businessman Ung Meng Cheu last month. Hong Menea

Suspects 'confess' role in tycoon slaying

Two of the three bodyguards to tycoon Thong Sarath arrested on Monday have confessed to being involved in the fatal shooting of businessman Ung Meng Cheu, a police officer said yesterday.

“The penal police have already completed their questioning,” said Keo Sarith, a Phnom Penh police officer who was present for the questioning. “Police are now preparing documents in order to send them to Phnom Penh Municipal Court for more questioning.”

During the police interview, two of Sarath’s bodyguards admitted to playing a part in the November 22 shooting – which took place outside a fruit shop on Sihanouk Boulevard in Phnom Penh – but would not say how, Sarith said. The third man denied any involvement, but will also be sent to court today, he added.

Police had confiscated two guns, one of which they believe is the murder weapon, he added.

Another police officer, who asked not to be named, said that Sarath had visited the bodyguards a number of times since their arrest.

The three suspects were arrested outside the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh at about 11:15am on Monday.

Sarath could not be reached yesterday.

General In Bora, chief of the Ministry of Interior’s penal police department, declined to comment on the police investigation or confirm whether any charges would be laid.

“I cannot say anything about this. We are still working on this case,” he said.

Meng Cheu, chairman of the Shimmex Group, was shot six times in a brutal attack caught on security camera. Footage showed a man in a cap fire at the businessman after he climbed out of his Lexus unaccompanied.

Witnesses say the shooter fled on a motorbike with another man.

Before the arrest of the three bodyguards on Monday, police suggested a business dispute may have been behind the murder. However, they did not elaborate on this theory.

A court official has confirmed that Meng Cheu had been involved in a number of court cases, at least one of which related to a land dispute.

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