Murdered Tycoon’s Widow Tells of $5-Million Dispute

The widow of Ung Meng Chue, a tycoon who was gunned down outside a fruit store in Phnom Penh in November, told the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday that her husband had been in a dispute with another businessman over some $5 million, her lawyer said yesterday.

The lawyer, Lach Samrong, said Tang Kim Chheng told the investigating judge that her husband had demanded the return of a $5-million debt from another tycoon a “short time” before he was murdered. He declined to name the other tycoon.

“Ung Meng Chue asked the other tycoon to pay back the money, about $5 million, from [bad] checks,” Mr. Samrong said of his client’s response during questioning.

Major General Thong Sarath, a Defense Ministry official with vast business holdings, has been charged with organizing the murder of Ung Meng Chue, but remains at large.

Five of his bodyguards—including the alleged shooter and getaway driver—have been charged and imprisoned.

The bodyguards confessed to the crime but later said that their confessions were extracted under duress.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Tang Kim Chheng was questioned at the municipal court for the first time on Tuesday. She was also questioned at the court in early March.

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