Court Freezes Assets of Ex-Officers Accused of Killing Publisher

Phnom Penh Municipal Court has frozen the assets of two former mu­nicipal police officers charged in the attempt to kill a local newspaper publisher and his bodyguard in 1998, a judge said Monday.

Judge Ke Sakhorn said the court is­sued orders Sept 18 and 19 barring the sale of property belonging to the jailed former deputy chief of mi­nor crime Ly Rasy, 36, and former economic police chief Heng Veng, 28, who is currently at large.

The assets freeze is to prevent sus­pects in the attempted assas­sina­tion of Thong Uy Pang, pub­lisher of Koh Santepheap news­paper, from selling their land before trial, the judge said.

Thong Uy Pang and his bodyguard Yim Chhoeun were both shot in the chest in June 1998 outside a Phnom Penh pagoda.

“We are freezing [property] to guar­antee compensation prior to the hearing,” Ke Sakhorn said, add­ing that no trial date has been set.

Ke Sakhorn said he had learned that Ly Rasy’s family had already sold two houses in Tuol Kok district. However, the order was retro­active and can invalidate the sales, even if they took place before the court ordered the freeze.

Phnom Penh Municipal Police Chief Touch Naruth said that Heng Veng and former foreigner po­lice chief Pheng Phai, also charged over the publisher’s shoot­ing, were transferred to the In­terior Ministry a long time ago and have since disappeared. “We don’t know where they went,” he said.

Among those implicated in the dou­ble shooting was former Phnom Penh police chief Heng Pov, who was discretely charged in 1998 for his involvement in the crime along with unnamed ac­complices, Ke Sakhorn revealed Mon­day.

He maintained that the court could not act against Heng Pov for eight years because the now-dis­graced police chief was simply too powerful.

Heng Pov has denied all the al­le­gations against him.

Puth Theavy, a lawyer representing Thong Uy Pang and Yim Chhoeun, said that his clients would seek $300,000 in compensation.

Thong Uy Pang also said he ex­pected the trial to occur soon. “They all ran away,” he said. “Only Ly Rasy is left.”

(Additional reporting by Douglas Gillison)

 

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