Pursat Provincial Court on Monday freed on bail to two men, including an RCAF soldier from Brigade 70, who were charged with shooting two people dead and seriously injuring an elderly woman during a car robbery in April, Investigating Judge In Bopha said yesterday.
RCAF Soldier Muor Meng and Tep Chamroeun, a construction worker, were charged in the killing of Mam Bunly and her driver Heng Iev Chiv on the evening of April 31 while alleg-
edly stealing their car in the province’s Veal Veng district, Judge Bopha said, adding that another victim, Y Vanny, was shot twice during the robbery but survived.
Defending his decision to free the two suspects, Judge Bopha claimed that police had made
the arrests without sufficient
evidence. He referred to the main piece of evidence, a recording of a phone conversation that allegedly confirmed that Mr Meng, the accused soldier, had been in Pursat on April 31,
the night of the murders and
“Police have made the arrests based on the phone recording, but they didn’t give it to the court and said they didn’t have it,” the judge said.
As a condition of their bail, the two men, who are both residents of Phnom Penh, must not change their permanent addresses, the judge said.
“They can walk freely but they cannot move [from] the address,” he said.
Heng Iev Hong, 30, the older brother of the murdered Mr Chiv, said that by setting bail the Pursat court had done an “injustice” to his family.
“I am unhappy with this act,” Mr Hong said.
“This seriously affects [the court],” he said.
“People don’t believe in the judicial system in Cambodia. The judge has not worked on this case seriously and the offenders should not have been released.”
Mr Hong said that on April 31, his late brother and the late Ms Bunly, a businesswoman, had been driving to Pursat for a work trip.
He said that at around 7 pm, two SUVs pulled in front of their vehicle and the persons inside fired multiple shots, killing the pair and injuring Ms Vanny before stealing their car.
Outraged by the release, Sa Sovan, the attorney representing Mr Chiv’s family, said he intends to complain to the Supreme Council of Magistracy, which oversees the judiciary, in the hopes of removing Judge Bopha from the case.
“They were released yesterday without having any investigation,” Mr Sovan said of the accused.
“The investigating judge is not neutral,” he said.