5 Convicted in Hotel Blasts

A Phnom Penh judge Thurs­day convicted five people and acquitted two others in last year’s bombings of two downtown ho­tels that killed three and wounded at least 11 others. 

After waiting more than a week to issue his ruling, Phnom Penh Municipal Court Judge Kim Sophorn convicted Rin Savuth, 22, Koeut Sinoun, 31, Preap Sanloy—also known Rin Sothy—30, and Chreik Mao, 31, of terrorism and extortion in the July 4 bombings of the Favour and Hong Kong hotels on Monivong Boulevard.

Kim Sophorn sentenced Rin Savuth and Koeut Sinoun to life in prison and Preap Sanloy and Chreik Mao to 20 years in prison. The judge also convicted Ban Thavry, 42, of keeping and selling the explosives used in the blasts, sentencing her to two years in prison.

Koeut Sinoun remains at large and the judge convicted and sentenced him in absentia.

Kim Sophorn acquitted Ouk Sathya, 41, and Panth Bo Reth, 29, whose lawyers didn’t show up, of all charges.

The judge also ordered Rin Savuth, Koeut Sinoun, Preap Sanloy and Chreik Mao to pay compensation to the victims—$10,000 to the owner of the Hong Kong Hotel, Tang Kim, and $20,000 to Lim Kimsour. Lim Kimsour is the mother of a police officer killed in the Favour Hotel blast.

Kim Sophorn ordered an additional $10,000 compensation to go to the mother of Kim Hout, a Favour Hotel maid killed when she opened a room door for two police officers trying to find the bomb.

Rin Savuth, the convicted ring leader, admitted to putting the bombings together and setting them to explode. The bombers used phones to detonate the remote-controlled bombs, officials said.

During the weeklong trial, which ended last week, Rin Savuth confessed he and Koeut Sinoun had bought 20 kg of dynamite and detonators. Chreik Mao drove them to Phsar Tuk Thla in Russei Keo district, Kim Sophorn said.

Ban Thavry, 42, who was first accused of participating in the group earlier this month, said she did not know what they were going to use the explosives for.

The first bomb exploded at the Hong Kong Hotel at 11 am and the second bomb exploded one hour later at the Favour Hotel, which is about 50 meters from the Hong Kong Hotel.

Officials said police and the hotels received phone calls from an unidentified man claiming to represent a group called “Maria” and demanding hundreds of thousands of dollars just moments before the bombs tore through the hotels.


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