Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday sentenced seven construction workers to three years in prison each after they were found guilty of breaking into a cargo container and stealing $200,000 worth of jeans in 2016.
Initially, 13 construction workers were suspected of the crime, but the court dropped the charges against five of them.
Judge Im Vannak identified the seven as But Sarem, Tith Eng, Tim Kinal, Sum Sareth, Toan Cheath, Men Sorn and Sem Sokvin.
They were all found guilty of theft with aggravating circumstances.
“The court has decided to convict them to three years in prison each,” Judge Vannak said.
He noted that charges against Mean Chamroeun, Koy Sroeung, Chhay Kdeb, Thean Phan, Phoung Sophal and Thoen Sing were dropped because they were not involved.
“The court orders plaintiff Sok Sovann to file another civil lawsuit in court to claim for damages from the convicted,” Judge Vannak said.
According to Judge Vannak, shortly after midnight on October 28, 2016, the convicted stole a container truck parked in Russey Keo district.
The container and its goods were owned by the Golden Emperor Company. The container was being driven to Preah Sihanouk province before departing for China.
Judge Vannak said the truck was taken to a quiet place by Mr Sarem before the container was broken into.
“After parking the truck in a secluded place in the Thmarth Pong village, they broke into the container and stole the shipment,” he said. “After that, they fled in their own cars. Mr Sarem, who was driving the stolen truck, parked it in Russey Keo commune before fleeing.”
Judge Vannak said those who were suspected of being involved were arrested in September following an investigation by police, noting that a complaint was filed by Golden Emperor.
During the trial last month, all seven men admitted to the offence. They said the goods were brought to an unidentified buyer in the city.
Ou Vuth, Mr Veasna’s lawyer, said the convicts looted about $200,000 worth of goods.
Mr Vuth said his client is demanding $300,000 in compensation for the damages.