General’s Wife Leads Polished Plea for Release

Relatives of Thong Sarath, the jailed general accused of masterminding a tycoon’s murder in November, released a video Friday imploring Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife to help exonerate the wealthy businessman and the bodyguards accused of carrying out the murder.

Major General Sarath was sentenced in June to 30 months in prison for possessing illegal weapons discovered in his villa in early December, days after he was identified as the prime suspect in Ung Meng Chue’s murder. His parents admitted to helping him escape and were jailed for two years on the same illegal weapons charges. 

Teav Thida, right, the wife of Thong Sarath, pleads for her husband's release in a still image from a video delivered to The Cambodia Daily.
Teav Thida, right, the wife of Thong Sarath, pleads for her husband’s release in a still image from a video delivered to The Cambodia Daily.

Five bodyguards suspected of being involved in the murder remain in provisional detention.

Yesterday, the wives of Maj. Gen. Sarath and his bodyguards made an emotive appeal in a video delivered to The Cambodia Daily’s office, pleading for the country’s most powerful couple to help reunite the men with their families.

“I would like…to appeal to Samdech Decho Hun Sen and…Bun Rany Hun Sen to help find justice for our husbands [because] they have suffered injustice, with little evidence linking them [to the crime],” Pok San, wife of defendant Kouy Chanthol, said among a group of tearful women.

Ms. San evoked the assault earlier this month of female TV personality Ek Socheata, better known as Sasa, by real-estate tycoon Sok Bun, a high-profile incident that drew an impassioned response from Mr. Hun Sen and saw the speedy arrest of the assailant.

“When Miss Sasa suffered, Samdech could find justice immediately, so why can Samdech not find justice for us, who are also Cambodian women,” Ms. San said.

The media pack also contained security camera footage that supposedly shows the security guards at different locations at the time of murder, along with a glossy pamphlet and statement signed by Ork Kim, vice president of administration for Meanchey International Investment, Maj. Gen. Sarath’s company.

“In your kindness, help find justice for our husbands who have suffered from the injustice of being wrongly accused with plotting the murder of a human being,” the statement said.

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