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Verdicts stick as court rejects Sarath appeal

Illegal weapons are seized at the house of tycoon Thong Sarath's parents in January.
Illegal weapons are seized at the house of tycoon Thong Sarath's parents in January. Photo supplied

Verdicts stick as court rejects Sarath appeal

The Court of Appeal yesterday upheld the jail sentences of tycoon Thong Sarath and his parents, all of whom were found guilty of illegal weapons possession by Phnom Penh Municipal court in June.

Sarath, head of the Borey 999 development project, was the prime suspect in the November 2014 shooting death of Shimmex Group chairman Ung Meng Cheu. His murder charge is still outstanding and that trial has yet to begin.

Police raiding the tycoon’s residences last year found 15 guns, including four AK-47s. Of those weapons, the tycoon and his family members were legally licensed to possess just two pistols, according to the municipal court.

Judge Tith Sothy Boraleak yesterday rejected as excuses the appellants’ testimonies that Sarath did not handle the weapons himself and that they were only used by his bodyguards, four of whom have been charged in Meng Cheu’s murder.

“The evidence and the witness [testimonies] are the same as what the police found – weapons at [Sarath’s] house, hidden in ceilings and secret places,” she said.

“Those weapons belong to Thong Sarath. Therefore, we decided to uphold the verdict and continue to detain the suspects.”

Sarath was sentenced to two and a half years in prison on his weapons charges. His parents were sentenced to two years each.

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