Authorities have charged three Banteay Meanchey province men with planning to rob Thai tourists as they left a Poipet casino, officials said Tuesday.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court officials on Monday arraigned copper salesman Keo Sam Ang, 29, casino driver Lik Sakorn, 25, and casino guard Neth Gork, 26, of attempted armed robbery after Ministry of Interior police arrested them Sunday night as they waited on the football field outside Poipet’s Golden Crown Casino, Deputy Prosecutor Nget Sarath said.
Police from the ministry were tipped off the men were planning to strike customers leaving the casino, Interior Ministry spokesman Sok Phal said.
The men were allegedly targeting Thai tourists because they believed Thai gamblers have more money, Nget Sarath said.
“They said they wanted to rob Thais because Thais have money; Khmer people don’t have money,” Nget Sarath said.
Three other men were on the field when police swooped down on the suspects, but they escaped with two handguns and an AK-47, Sok Phal said. In all, eight men were believed to be involved in the plot, which originally called for robbing the casino’s jewelry shop, Sok Phal said.
“The jewelry is worth more than $100,000 and it would be easy for them to escape,” Sok Phal said.
The three suspects now in custody have all confessed, Sok Phal said. They told authorities the three escaped men were military police officers, Sok Phal added.
Banteay Meanchey Judicial Police Deputy Chief Chhoeung Sokhom confirmed he was also investigating the case, but refused to give details of the other suspects.
Under Cambodian law, Keo Sam Ang, Lik Sakorn and Neth Gork can be held in jail for six months before officials must bring them to trial.
No one else was in custody Tuesday afternoon, officials said.