Capital Police Question Tycoon’s Bodyguards But Won’t Say Why

Three bodyguards of tycoon Thong Sarath were questioned by Phnom Penh police for several hours Monday after being pulled over near the Khmer Soviet Friendship Hospital, though authorities declined to shed any light on the purpose of the inquiry.

After stopping the bodyguards, one of whom was driving Mr. Sarath in a Lexus SUV as two others followed on a motorbike, police led the men to the municipal police headquarters in Sen Sok district.

Mr. Sarath, who holds the title of oknha and owns a number of companies involved in a wide range of industries—from construction and real estate to food production—demanded to know why his men were needed for questioning and accompanied them to the police station, his assistant Soeum Saroeurn said.

“Oknha Thong Sarath went to the police station to see what police wanted,” Mr. Saroeurn said, adding that the group arrived at the headquarters around midday.

“Oknha Thong Sarath returned home by about 3 [p.m.], but his bodyguards were still at the police station for questioning,” Mr. Saroeurn added. “I don’t know what the questions were about.”

Authorities refused to offer any answers.

“Our policemen are using their expertise to work on this case,” said Phnom Penh police chief Chuon Sovann. “We cannot reveal publicly what is going on because our police are searching for suspects.”

By 5:30 p.m., the three bodyguards were still at the police headquarters, where they were being questioned in the office of deputy municipal police chief Chuon Narin.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court deputy prosecutor Meas Chanpiseth, who was seen going between the offices of Lieutenant General Sovann and Brigadier General Narin, ignored questions from a reporter at the building.

Mr. Sarath, chairman of the Thong Sarath Group and director of Sea City Co. Ltd., could not be reached for comment.

(Additional reporting by Hay Pisey)

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