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Trial starts in ‘plot’ to rape, kill official’s wife

Lay Huong, who is accused of masterminding an attempted rape and murder, arrives at Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday.
Lay Huong, who is accused of masterminding an attempted rape and murder, arrives at Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday. Pha Lina

Trial starts in ‘plot’ to rape, kill official’s wife

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday began the trial of Lay Huong – the ex-wife of tycoon Khaou Phallaboth, himself the son of fellow tycoon Khaou Chuly – over accusations that she masterminded the attempted rape and murder of the wife of Commerce Minister Sun Chanthol in 2010.

Huong’s case has seen numerous twists and turns in the past five years, but Pal Chandara, a representative of Chanthol, called on the court to issue a speedy verdict against Huong, who was convicted in absentia in 2012, but was later arrested in Thailand and repatriated for a retrial.

“His Excellency Sun Chanthol and his family want to put an end to this case, and do not want to take any more time on it or delay it,” he said, reminding the court of testimony implicating Huong by Neang Sinath and Chan Sokha – two cleaners also convicted for their alleged roles in the plot whose testimonies have waffled over the course of lengthy proceedings.

Huong, however, staunchly denied the allegations, maintaining, as she has in the past, that the accusations are fabrications stemming from squabbles over Khaou family assets.

“I had no relationship with His Excellency Sun Chanthol’s family . . . Therefore, there is no reason that I would have prepared a plot to murder them,” she said.

Chea Chanravy, Huong’s lawyer, said the case was based on hearsay, and called for Sinath and Sokha to be questioned and for the charges be dropped. The trial will resume on January 21.

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