World Bulletin / News Desk
A major general at the Cambodian Defense Ministry has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for illegal weapons possession in a case connected to the murder of a wealthy businessman, local media reported Tuesday.
The case of the military official, Thong Sarath, has been making headlines in Cambodia since the shooting death of his alleged victim, Ung Meng Cheu, in November last year. Sarath is accused of ordering his bodyguards to kill the businessman in front of a fruit shop in Phnom Penh.
Sarath was sentenced to 30 months in prison and fined $1,500 Monday, according to The Cambodia Daily.
Sarath’s parents, Keo Sary and Thong Chamroeun, were sentenced to two years in prison and were also fined, while one of Sarath’s bodyguards was sentenced in absentia.
Police found 15 illegal weapons, including AK-47 rifles, when they raided the family’s three villas following the murder, according to the Phnom Penh Post.
During a trial in May, Sary said the weapons belonged to her son’s bodyguards, not the family, according to the Daily. Sarath said his bodyguards doubled as police officers or soldiers, and therefore did not possess the weapons illegally.
Sarath is still facing more serious charges of premeditated murder, which will be heard at a later trial. Several of his bodyguards have also been arrested, with police saying they have confessed to their roles in killing Meng Cheu, who had business interests in real estate and jewelry.
Both Meng Cheu and Sarath bear the honorific “oknha,” which roughly translates as “tycoon” and is awarded to businesspeople who make large donations to the government.
The Post reported that Sarath plans to appeal his conviction. After Meng Cheu’s murder, Sarath fled the country and spent months on an Interpol watch list before being apprehended in April in Vietnam.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 16 Haziran 2015, 13:43