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Tycoon’s murder case rolls on at court

Tycoon Thong Sarath appears at the Phnom Penh court last year.
Tycoon Thong Sarath appears at the Phnom Penh court last year. Pha Lina

Tycoon’s murder case rolls on at court

In a hearing in the murder case against tycoon Thong Sarath and his bodyguards, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday questioned two witnesses and read out statements from more than 10 witnesses who could not attend the hearing.

Sarath is accused of masterminding the murder of tycoon Ung Meng Cheu, who was shot dead in Phnom Penh on the evening of November 22, 2014, when he stepped out of his Lexus.

Five of Sarath’s bodyguards – Seang Veasna, Meas Sambath, Chhun Chetra, Kouy Chanthol and Ly Sao – were charged as accomplices for allegedly having carried out the attack. Sao later died in prison.

Yesterday, the brother and sister of accused Chanthol said he told them during a phone call between 6pm and 7pm that night that he was at home. The murder took place at about 7:15pm.

Several statements alleged that witnesses recognised Veasna as the gunman in video footage of the murder.

One witness said Veasna left his Nighthawk motorbike at their house a few days before the murder and took Chetra’s Honda Dream – which was used in the shooting – before picking his own up again on the night of the murder.

Several motodops said they saw a Lexus near Tuol Tompoung pagoda and two people on a Honda Dream monitoring the car that day. “The gunman in the footage was one of the men I saw,” said motodop Un Samoeun in a statement.

But there were also witness statements that attested that Meng Cheu did not have any conflict with Sarath.

Sarath was absent again from yesterday’s hearing, citing health problems. The hearing is set to continue today.

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