The wife of disgraced former military general Thong Sarath testified on Friday that her husband had no business conflict with construction tycoon Ung Meng Chue, who was murdered at a Phnom Penh fruit store in 2014.
Teav Thyda told the Phnom Penh Municipal Court that her husband had not left the house on the day of the murder, which prosecutors have said he ordered his bodyguards to commit over an alleged business dispute.
“I was sick, then I returned home and stayed with my husband,” she said.
Under questioning from Presiding Judge Top Chhun Heng, Ms. Thyda said her husband had two guns, which his bodyguards typically collected during the day and then returned to a safe in the evening.
“Does your husband have a gun license?” Judge Chhun Heng asked.
“I do not know about it,” Ms. Thyda said.
She denied any relationship between her husband and Ung Meng Chue, who was shot six times as he exited his Lexus SUV on November 22, 2014, saying, “It’s been 11 years that I am together with my husband, and he never mentioned any involvement with tycoon Ung Meng Chue and he never knew him in the past.”
The judge asked Ms. Thyda, “How can you prove that tycoon Thorng Sarath had no business conflict with anyone?”
“He has only one company. How could the conflict happen?” she replied. “We normally have a problem with our customers or neighbors.”
According to police, bodyguards Ly Sao and Sieng Veasna drove to the fruit store, where Mr. Veasna shot Ung Meng Chue. Mr. Veasna, who was charged with premeditated murder, has insisted he is innocent, while Ly Sao died of encephalitis in June. Three other bodyguards—Koy Chanthul, Meas Sambath and Chhun Chetra—were charged as accomplices after police said they admitted to posing as lookouts.
Mr. Sarath has remained absent from the trial due to health problems.
The trial is to resume on Friday.
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