Suspects Deny Roles in Fatal 2011 Shooting

Two suspects in the 2011 murder of a Phnom Penh woman, including the son of a military police officer, denied any knowledge or involvement of the crime during their trial at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday.

Kong Chanreaksmey, 16, and Kong Sina, 19—the son of military police officer Kong Sinath—were arrested in June for the fatal shooting of Chay Chomreasmey, 28, on November 16, 2011, and subsequently charged with murder, illegal use of a weapon and attempted robbery.

At Wednesday’s hearing, both suspects professed their innocence.

“I ask the court to release me so I can continue my studies because I did not know about this case and I did not commit this crime,” Mr. Sina said.

Mr. Chanreaksmey, who also claimed he was innocent, said he was forced by police to confess and say that the suspected murder weapon, a K54 handgun, belonged to Mr. Sina.

Mr. Sinath testified that he owned a K54 but insisted that his son could not have known how to use it.

“I did not let my son play with my gun and he did not know about the gun,” he told the court.

Defense lawyers for the suspects said the court had no evidence to prove its case against their clients. Mr. Sina’s lawyer, Ou Vuth, said the victim’s husband had identified the shooter and the driver of the motorcycle that followed them as thin, but pointed out that his client was fat.

“I think the police arrested the wrong person and I request that the court release my client,” Mr. Vuth said.

The victim’s husband, Kam Lakdila, told the court that his wife was shot once in the head while they were driving home from a fishing trip through Russei Keo district.

“There were two men on a motorcycle and one of them shot at my wife; I thought it was a robbery,” he said.

After the hearing, Mr. Lakdila said the driver had been wearing a helmet but based on the two suspects’ body types he did not believe they were the ones involved in the crime.

Presiding Judge Chaing Sinath said he would announce a verdict in the case on Tuesday.

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