Parents of Fugitive General in Murder Case Released on Bail

The parents of fugitive general Thong Sarath—who is wanted for coordinating the murder of local businessman Ung Meng Chue in November—were granted bail on Saturday morning and released from prison, where they were being held on charges of illegal firearms possession, according to their lawyer.

Thong Chamroeun, Major General Sarath’s father, and Keo Savy, his mother, were sent to Prey Sar prison on December 7 following police raids on the family’s Phnom Penh villas that turned up a cache of illegal firearms and ammunition. Maj. Gen. Sarath remains at large.

Mon Keosivin, the lawyer for Mr. Chamroeun and Ms. Savy, said the fugitive general’s parents were freed on Saturday because Investigating Judge Ly Sokleng judged them to be in ill health while questioning them at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday morning.

“Investigating Judge Ly Sokleng invited them to the court to continue being questioned, and on that day, he saw their poor health condition,” Mr. Keosivin said.

“[Maj. Gen.] Sarath’s father has bad vision, mental illness and diabetes. Ms. Savy has high blood pressure when she is angry. That is why the judge decided to release them,” he added.

Judge Sokleng could not be reached Sunday.

Mr. Keosivin said his clients were still under court supervision, but did not have to post a cash bond and would be allowed to travel overseas if they are accompanied by their lawyers.

“If they want to go abroad, they only have to inform their lawyers and their lawyers will inform the court. The lawyers will always accompany them and they will appear if the court requires their presence,” he said.

Although police found at least 10 firearms in their searches of the couple’s homes in Phnom Penh—including three AK-47 rifles and a pistol during a raid last month—Mr. Keosivin said only four of the weapons belonged to his clients.

“They are charged with possession of illegal firearms but they have legal documents [for the weapons] authorized by the Ministry of National Defense because his mother was a lieutenant colonel and his father was a major” in the military, he said.

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