Judge Delays Verdict in Hotel Bombings Trial

A Phnom Penh judge Thurs­day delayed the verdict in the case of seven people charged with bombing two downtown Phnom Penh hotels and killing three people last year.

Municipal Court Judge Kim Sophorn was “very busy” and would not deliver verdicts in the case against Rin Savuth, 33, Ouk Sathya, 40, Chreik Mao, 31, Panth Boreth, 29, Chap Savy, 27, Koeut Sinoun, 31, and Preap Sanloy, 30, Phnom Penh Deputy Prosecutor Yet Chakriya said.

Authorities have charged all seven men with terrorism, illegal use of a weapon and intentional destruction of property.

During the trial, which began Tuesday, confessed leader Rin Savuth told the judge he was an electronics expert and designed the bombs and planned the July 4 attacks, Yet Chakriya said.

Ouk Sathya denied involvement in the at­tacks, but admitted that he sold materials to the suspects. Ouk Sathya said he surrendered after he read of the bombings in the next day’s newspapers, Yet Chakriya said.

Two bombs, placed in the neighboring Favour and Hong Kong hotels on Monivong Boule­vard, went off about an hour apart, killing three and wounding 11.

Minutes before both explosions, the hotels received a call from a man claiming to represent a group called “Maria” and demanding hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The bombers used more than 12 kg of dynamite, which would have destroyed the hotels instead of damaging them if the bombs had been placed differently, authorities said.

Still at large, however, is the suspected mastermind of the plot, authorities say. Police have identified the suspect and are searching for him with a warrant, officials said.

Kim Sophorn will not deliver his verdict until next month, a clerk said. If convicted, each man could be sentenced to up to 37 years in prison, officials said.

 

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