Two Charged in Kidnap and Murder of Phnom Penh Woman

Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday tried two men for premeditated murder following the kidnapping, rape, killing and robbery of a Phnom Penh woman whose half-naked body was found in Preah Vihear province’s Rovieng district in March.

The two suspects, An Sophoeurn, 35, and Meng Ly, 27, were arrested in April in Phnom Penh. Yesterday they confessed to abducting and killing 30-year-old Yem Koemchhun, but denied raping her.

Mr Sophoeurn testified that he and Ms Koemchhun worked together as timber traders, and had grown up together in Kompong Cham. He said he killed her so he could steal and sell her car, a Lexus RX 300, as she had owed him $10,000 from a logging deal.

Mr Sophoeurn said he and Mr Ly arranged a business meeting with Ms Koemchhun at a restaurant in Russei Keo district’s Prek Leap commune, where they spiked her beer with sleeping pills.

After Ms Koemchhun fell unconscious, the pair drove her to Preah Vihear, killed her, dumped her body and sold her car to a Vietnamese man, Mr Sophoeurn said.

“I put the Lexomil sleeping pill in her beer glass, but I do not fight her with a wrench, and I also did not rape her,” he said.

“When we sold the car for $5,000, Mr Ly took $1,000 and I received $4,000 because I am in debt.”

Mr Ly confessed to bludgeoning Ms Koemchhun, and said Mr Sophoeurn had ordered him to undress the woman to make the crime look like a random rape-murder.

“I hit the back of her head with a wrench two to three times, and then Mr Sophoeurn fought her,” he said. “Mr Sophoeurn was the ring-leader.”

Deputy prosecutor Kry Sok Y said he had also charged the Vietnamese national who bought the car, 50-year-old Din Yangdang, with receiving stolen goods.

Bunn Kong, lawyer for the suspects, asked the court to take his clients’ confession into account.

“I request to the court, please consider the mitigating circumstance on my clients because they recognized their wrongdoing,” he said.

Presiding judge Kor Vandy said the verdict will be announced Dec 30.


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