Court to Continue General’s Questioning in Murder Case

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court will on Wednesday resume questioning Major General Thong Sarath, who stands accused of orchestrating the murder of tycoon Ung Meng Chue in November and was apprehended last week after more than four months on the run.

Lim Vanna, a lawyer for Maj. Gen. Sarath said Tuesday that Investigating Judge Ly Sokleng would resume questioning his client—who was charged in absentia in December with instigating premeditated murder—at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

“The Investigating Judge Ly Sokleng will be questioning my client tomorrow at 2 o’clock,” he said, adding that he and other members of Maj. Gen. Sarath’s defense team would be present at the hearing.

Maj. Gen. Sarath was arrested Thursday night and sent to the court the next day, where he was questioned for two hours before being placed in Prey Sar prison.

Police on Friday gave conflicting accounts of Maj. Gen. Sarath’s arrest. Municipal police and Cambodia’s Interpol office suggested that the fugitive general was arrested in Vietnam, while the National Police claimed he was apprehended on Cambodian soil—along the border with Vietnam in Svay Rieng province—by Cambodian authorities.

Mr. Vanna said Tuesday that he did not yet have details of his client’s arrest as he had not had an opportunity to speak with him.

However, Chhay Sinarith, director of the Interior Ministry’s internal security department, sought to clarify the events leading up to the general’s capture.

“The Vietnamese authorities found out that Thong Sarath crossed the border illegally into Vietnam,” he said. “Then we learned that Vietnamese authorities arrested him and were planning to expel him from Vietnam to Cambodia.

“After we received this information, we sent our police to the border to carry out the court’s arrest warrant once he was expelled from Vietnam,” the security director said.

Mr. Sinarith said the general was taken into custody by the National Police in Bavet City, not at the border checkpoint.

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