Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tycoon charged with murder

Tycoon charged with murder

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A screenshot pictures tycoon Thong Sarath pleading to Prime Minister Hun Sen to re-investigate the murder case against him. FACEBOOK

Tycoon charged with murder

Tycoon Thong Sarath has been charged with premeditated murder and possession of weapons by a court in Phnom Penh after being arrested in a joint operation with Cambodian and Vietnamese police on Thursday over the killing of Shimmex Group owner Ung Meng Cheu.

Seng Darith, an officer with Phnom Penh’s Serious Crimes Bureau, said the tycoon was charged on Friday after he was questioned at the Ministry of Interior following his arrest in Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday night.

“He was charged by the court with two charges after he was questioned by the investigative judge at Phnom Penh Municipal Court for about four hours,” he said, adding that the charges of “initiating a premeditated murder and possession or transport of weapons and firearms without permission” could carry a life sentence if he is found guilty.

“He has been sent to temporary detention at Prey Sar prison awaiting further investigation and pretrial [questioning] in the future,” Darith added.

The former Royal Cambodian Armed Forces major general and president of the Meanchey International Investment Company went into hiding following the November 22 shooting on a busy Phnom Penh street.

Sarath was promptly accused of masterminding the gangland-style killing of his business rival, and in the following days five of his bodyguards were arrested.

Sarath’s parents, Keo Sary and Thong Chamroeun, promptly held a bizarre press conference where they boasted to reporters that they had told their son “to escape”.

From hiding, Sarath has published online a series of videos in which he appealed to Prime Minister Hun Sen to intervene in his case. Sary and Chamroeun were arrested shortly afterwards and face illegal weapons charges stemming from police raids on properties owned by the family.

The couple were granted bail by Phnom Penh Municipal Court and attempted to flee the country, presumably to meet their son in Vietnam, but were caught by authorities near the border and are now also in Prey Sar
prison. The couple, however, claimed they were only travelling to Vietnam for a routine medical exam.

Kea Eav, Sarath’s defence lawyer, said his client had denied the charges under questioning and claimed the tycoon would have returned to face the charges of his own accord if he had not been tracked down.

“He did not confess … because he did not commit any wrongdoing as he is accused,” Eav said. “He came to confront his accusers in court, because if he was still in hiding he could not put the accusations to rest.”

Investigative judge Ly Sokleng could not be reached for comment yesterday.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Banteay Meanchey gunfight sees 15 Thais arrested, three officers injured

    The Banteay Meanchey Military Police have arrested 15 Thai suspects and their accomplices after a gun battle between two Thai groups caused injuries to three police officers in the early hours of November 21, local authorities said. National Military Police spokesman Eng Hy said that according to

  • PM: Do not defile Tonle Sap swamp forest or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered police to arrest anyone – including government officials – involved with the deforestation of the flooded forests surrounding the Tonle Sap Lake because it is an area important to the spawning of many species of fish, among other reasons. Speaking in a