Friday, 21 January 2011 15:02 Chrann Chamroeun
More than a dozen witnesses gave testimony at Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday in an alleged attempted murder involving members of two prominent families.
During the fourth day of hearings, the defence called 14 witnesses. Several police also testified, including Chheang Mony, a penal police official at the Ministry of Interior who headed the case’s investigation.
Seng Chenda, who is married to businessman Khaou Chuly, is accused of masterminding the attempted murder of Khaou Chuly’s daughter from a previous marriage, Suv Chantha, with the aid of four accomplices.
Suv Chantha is married to Sun Chanthol, vice chairman of the Council for the Development of Cambodia and a former minister of public works.
Chheang Mony said he sought permission from the court prosecutor to investigate a complaint lodged by Suv Chantha, who suspected thieves had entered her home in the early morning of June 13.
“[She said] the door was left open and marks were left by the [people who entered] near the window, and the condition of her two dogs was unusual, like they had been poisoned,” he said.
Suv Chantha told police she was suspicious of her housemaid, Neang Sinath, when she “seemed uninterested” in suspicions that people had entered the house, Chheang Mony said.
Confessions by Neang Sinath after her arrest, he said, implicated Chan Sokha, a housemaid for Khaou Chuly. Chheang Mony said Chan Sokha was suspected of purchasing sleeping pills to poison Suv
Chantha’s two dogs, and helping two male defendants, Yin Sophearith and Khorn Lak, to enter the house.
In testimony on January 5, Chan Sokha said police had taken her to a pharmacy to purchase sleeping pills used as false evidence.
Chheang Mony said police had taken her to a pharmacy “to buy medicine as a model for what kind of medicine she bought, following [Neang] Sinath’s confession”.
Chheang Mony denied allegations that police tortured or threatened defendants during interrogations. Four defendants have testified that both police and Sun Chanthol were involved in coercing false confessions.
Kim Thai, 22, a security guard at one of Khaou Chuly’s apartments, testified that he had noted down everyone who entered or exited the complex the night of the alleged murder attempt, and he was certain that Khorn Lak was at the same apartment building that night.
Khaou Chuly said his wife has “never had any dispute” with Suv Chantha or his 11 other children.
“Sun Chanthol told me to leave my wife ... or [my wife] would kill me and rob my property, but I didn’t believe she would,” he said.
Khaou Phallaboth, a younger brother of Suv Chantha, said Seng Chenda had no motive to murder his sister.
“She would not be so foolish to do that, she is a millionaire’s wife who had everything she wished,” he said.
The case is due to continue on Monday.