Court Sentences Four in Cassava Theft Ring

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday sentenced four men—three in absentia—to one year in jail and ordered them to pay $1,000 total to the Pheapimex Company after finding them guilty of breach of trust for stealing 50 tons of dried cassava, said Presiding Judge Meng Tony.

Thou Kosal, 38; Pang Sothea, 40; and Sok Sopheap, 34, were hired by Pheapimex to transport the company’s cassava from Pursat province to Preah Sihanouk province, but the men instead transported the goods to Phnom Penh and sold it to the SKD Company, said Judge Tony.

The fourth man, Leang Chan Bunnarith, 42, was the general manager of Pheapimex’s warehouse in Preah Sihanouk and allegedly ordered the men to transport the cassava.

Only Mr. Kosal was arrested last year, but all four were charged in December.

During a June 10 hearing, Mr. Kosal confessed that he drove the truck to Phnom Penh to sell the cassava to SKD, but said he was following orders from Mr. Chan Bunnarith. Officials at Pheapimex and Mr. Chan Bunnarith could not be reached for comment.

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