PHNOM Penh Municipal Court yesterday sentenced three people to five years each in prison after convicting them of trying to sell 237 forged US$20 notes, presiding judge Duch Kimsorn said.
San Kimhouy, 69, and Heang Vanna, 31, were arrested on March 29 from an apartment in Tuol Kork district’s Teuk Laak II commune after they attempted to sell 100 of the counterfeit notes to an undercover police officer. A third suspect, Heang Vanna’s girlfriend Chem Sina, managed to escape and was sentenced yesterday in absentia.
The trio faced up to 15 years in prison on the charges, but the judge suspended all but one year of each sentence.
San Kimhuoy’s lawyer Ou Bonra said the decision to suspend his client’s sentence was “acceptable”.
“The court’s decision to give the minimum sentence is just, following my client’s confessions throughout the investigation,” he said. “He did not know it was against the law but was attracted by the profits he could make.” He added: “My client has high blood pressure and would not be able to stay in prison for very long.”
During a September 16 hearing, San Kimhuoy said he received the notes from a Vietnamese man, who sold them to him for $2 each outside a casino in Svay Rieng province’s Bavet town.
“I bought a total of 237 notes so I could sell them to Chem Sina, who agreed to pay $6 for each note,” he said.
Heang Vanna claimed to have played no part in the scheme, saying that he happened to be present at the apartment at the time only because his girlfriend was involved.