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Japanese men guilty of killing taxi driver

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Authorities escort the two Japanese nationals found guilty of killing a taxi driver in Siem Reap province. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Siem Reap Provincial Court yesterday found two Japanese nationals guilty of killing a taxi driver in the province’s Puok district earlier this year.

Ishida Reimon and Nakakuki Ryuji, both 24, were found guilty of premeditated murder over the killing of 41-year-old Hoem Chan.

Provincial court spokesman Yin Srang yesterday said the judges’ council found both men guilty and sentenced Mr Nakakuki to 13 years in prison, while Mr Ishida was given 10 years.

Mr Srang noted the two men were also told to compensate the victim’s wife.

Sok Chanroeun prays in front of her husband’s picture at his funeral. KT/Chor Sokunthea

“The Siem Reap Provincial Court has decided to order both convicts to pay 100 million riels [about $25,000] to the victim’s wife,” he said.

Sok Chanroeun, the victim’s wife, yesterday said the amount is not enough.

“I am not satisfied with the compensation because the amount is too small,” Ms Chamroeun said. “This compensation cannot support my family’s life for very long.”

She added she will consider filing an appeal with a higher court to receive more compensation.

Mr Nakakuki and Mr Ishida during their hearing on September 9 said they wanted to steal the taxi, but did not intend to kill the victim.

Mr Nakakuki said he wanted to steal the taxi because he owed money to a person in Japan and he came to Cambodia to work.

“I did it because I wanted the car for myself,” Mr Nakakuki said. “I did not intend to kill him, I accidentally used excessive force.”

Mr Ishida said: “I knew this action is illegal, but I wanted some money too.”

Chuon Sok Panha, deputy court prosecutor, yesterday said he agreed with the verdicts.

“I agree because the decision is correct,” Mr Sok Phanha said.

Theng Chamroeun, the lawyer for the convicts, yesterday said he will ask his clients if they want to appeal against the decision.

“It depends on my clients whether or not they can accept this decision or they want to appeal,” Mr Chamroeun said.

Japanese embassy spokesman Suzuki Hironori yesterday extended condolences to the victim’s family.

“While we are aware that the Siem Reap Provincial Court has sentenced the two Japanese citizens today, we would like to refrain from making further comments as the legal process still continues,” he added.

The two Japanese men crashed the stolen SUV shortly after killing their victim. National Police

In March, Brigadier General Phoeung Chendareth, provincial deputy police chief who led the investigation into the crime, said the two Japanese nationals arrived in Thailand on March 12, and after staying there for four days, crossed the border into Poipet city on March 16 before heading to Siem Reap city.

Brig Gen Chendareth said that on March 17, both men searched for an SUV to steal and hired the victim for $30 to drive them to visit Angkor Wat and other tourist sites.

He said that at about 5pm, the duo asked the taxi driver to take them to a market in Puok district and asked him to stop at a quiet spot.

Brig Gen Chendareth noted the men then grabbed the victim and a scuffle ensued during which Mr Nakakuri allegedly slashed the victim’s throat and killed him.

He added both men dumped the body on the road and drove off in the taxi.

Brig Gen Chendareth noted the murder was witnessed by a passing motorist who alerted police.

He said Mr Ishida drove the victim’s SUV toward Siem Reap city, but lost control of the vehicle after about 300 metres and hit a villager’s truck.

He added police officers on motorbikes who went to investigate the murder saw the two men fleeing from the taxi on foot and caught them.

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