Phnom Penh Municipal Court has placed a wealthy businessman’s wife in pretrial detention for her alleged involvement in a plot to kill the wife and daughter of a senior government minister last month, an investigating judge said yesterday.
Judge Te Sam Ang said that Khaou Seng Chanda, the wife of businessman Khaou Chuly, was placed in pretrial detention yesterday morning for the premeditated attempted murder of the wife and daughter of Sun Chanthol, vice chairman of the Council for the Development of Cambodia.
Mr Sam Ang said while Ms Seng Chanda was charged with the crime last month, he had only made the decision to place her in pretrial detention yesterday. He added that police had arrested Ms Seng Chanda and brought her to the court for questioning on Wednesday afternoon.
“The court decided to place Khaou Seng Chanda in pretrial detention for attempting premeditated murder,” he said, before declining to answer further questions about the case.
The attempted murder charge relates to a June 13 incident where, according to a police report, Ms Seng Chanda allegedly ordered 37-year-old Chan Sokha to organize the double murder.
The police report alleged that Ms Sokha arranged for Mr Chanthol’s maid, Neang Sinat, to assist in gaining access to the minister’s house in the capital’s Sen Sok district, and for Sok Lak and Yean Sothearith to carry out the killings. The murder plot was aborted, however, when Mr Chanthol’s wife woke up and shut an open door and windows, preventing access to the house.
Ms Sokha, Ms Sinat, Mr Lak and Mr Sothearith were charged with the attempted murder on June 23.
When contacted by telephone yesterday, Mr Chuly confirmed that his wife had been arrested on Wednesday when he was away from his home, but said he could not provide any further details.
“I am very old and I don’t know about this case,” he said.
Ms Seng Chanda’s lawyers, Kar Savuth and Lim Vanna, also declined to comment yesterday.
The Chanthol family lawyer, Pal Chantara, said the investigation was ongoing and that it was too early to be able to comment about the facts of the case.
“It is not known who is in the right and who is in the wrong right now, and until the court trial we will not know,” he said.