Court Questions General Over Tycoon’s Murder

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday resumed its questioning of Major General Thong Sarath, a Defense Ministry official charged with orchestrating the murder of tycoon Ung Meng Chue in November.

Maj. Gen. Sarath, who was charged in absentia while on the run, was arrested last week in Vietnam. He was questioned at the municipal court for two hours last Friday and was on Thursday questioned for another three hours by Investigating Judge Lo Sokleng.

Major General Thong Sarath arrives at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday to answer questions over charges of orchestrating the murder of Ung Meng Chue in November. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
Major General Thong Sarath arrives at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday to answer questions over charges of orchestrating the murder of Ung Meng Chue in November. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

“The court resumed [its] questioning,” the general’s lawyer, Kea Eav, told reporters at the courthouse Thursday. “I can only say that the court did not finish questioning him [last week] and questioned him now in more detail.”

Mr. Eav declined to discuss the substance of the questioning and said he did not know if the court would seek another round.

“If it is not enough, he will continue to be questioned; it is the court’s decision,” he said.

Maj. Gen. Sarath declined to speak with reporters while leaving the courthouse and was driven back to Prey Sar prison, where he is being held in provisional detention.

Judge Sokleng also declined to speak with a reporter.

The general is in prison along with five of his bodyguards, who, according to police, have confessed to shooting Ung Meng Chue dead outside a Phnom Penh fruit store on the orders of their boss. Some of the bodyguards, however, have since said that their confessions were obtained through torture.

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