The former common-law wife of one of Cambodia’s richest men was extradited from Thailand late on Tuesday night and will be sent to court Thursday over her involvement in an alleged plot to rape and murder the wife and daughter of Commerce Minister Sun Chanthol, according to police.
Lay Huong, 49, was convicted of an “initiative in a rape and premeditated murder attempt” in October 2012, according to Interpol, which listed her as a most-wanted criminal. Thai police arrested her on December 22.
The deputy chief of the Ministry of Interior’s penal police department, Loek Vannak, said Wednesday that Thai authorities had delivered her into Cambodian custody at the Poipet border crossing on Tuesday night.
“We took her from the Poipet International Checkpoint at 9 p.m. and, traveling by car, arrived early in the morning in Phnom Penh at 4:30 a.m. today,” said Major General Vannak, who said she was then sent to court.
“We sent Ms. Lay Huong to the municipal court at 8:30 a.m. to [meet with] deputy court prosecutor Meas Chanpiseth but the court prosecutor asked us to take her back to keep her at the police station, and then tomorrow bring her to the court again,” Maj. Gen. Vannak said.
Maj. Gen. Vannak said he did not know what Thursday’s hearing for Ms. Huong would concern. “We have only her arrest warrant as ordered by the court,” he said.
Investigating Judge Keo Mony declined to comment on Ms. Huong’s case Wednesday.
Mr. Chanpiseth, the deputy prosecutor at the court, confirmed Ms. Huong would be sent to court Thursday.
“I do not know about this case yet, but I heard that they are now preparing the documents. Tomorrow they will send her to the court,” Mr. Chanpiseth said, declining to elaborate.
Ty Kimsrean, Ms. Huong’s lawyer, also declined to comment.
Ms. Huong’s conviction relates to a high-profile case involving numerous family members of Khaou Phallaboth—one of Cambodia’s richest businessman. Ms. Huong claims to have been married to him between 2004 and 2012, although he has publicly renounced her and said she was only his mistress.
The Khaou family controls one of Cambodia’s largest business empires, with holdings in real estate, construction and agriculture. The commerce minister, Mr. Chanthol, became a member of the family when he married Sun Sotha, the daughter of its octogenarian patriarch, Khaou Chuly.
After a high-profile trial that ended in February 2011, Khaou Seng Chenda, 50, the wife of Mr. Chuly, was sentenced to 20 years in prison over the alleged plot to rape and murder Mr. Chanthol’s wife and daughter.
The decision was upheld by the Appeal and Supreme Court and, despite a dearth of material evidence and a reliance on inconsistent witness testimony, three accomplices of Ms. Seng Chenda also received sentences of 18 to 20 years.
According to the court, the accomplices, two of whom were maids, conspired with Ms. Seng Chenda to ensure access to the villa owned by Mr. Chanthol and Ms. Sotha on the night of the planned rape and murder in June 2010.
None of the suspects were seen at Mr. Chanthol’s villa on the night of the apparent plot, however, and no harm ever came to his wife or daughter. The only physical evidence of the crime was a window left ajar by a maid, which Ms. Sotha later closed, foiling the conspiracy.
Ms. Seng Chenda, the wife of the Khaou family patriarch, said on the day of her conviction that the rape and murder plot against Mr. Chanthol’s family had been fabricated.
“They accused me of wanting to kill Sun Sotha because I am afraid that Sun Sotha will inherit my husband’s property,” she said at the time. “But it is wrong because my husband has 12 children. If I kill one, there are still 11 remaining. So, must I kill all of them?”
Mr. Chanthol, however, denied that the rape-murder plot against his wife and daughter was fabricated in order for his family to more easily secure the Khaou family riches.
“Please let me say that Sun Chanthol and Sun Chanthol’s family do not want one cent from Okhna Khaou Chuly,” Mr. Chanthol said when the decision was upheld.
The alleged role of Ms. Huong in the rape and murder plot—aside from her link to a Khaou family member in Mr. Phallaboth—has never been made clear by authorities.