Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday charged three people over the brutal murder of a 31-year-old woman who was strangled dead before being wrapped in a blankets and dumped in a canal on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.
Colonel Cheav Vibol, cheif of the Penal Police Unit with the Interior Ministry, identified the accused as Keo Sophaneth, 28, his wife Ath Oeun, 31, both bread vendors, and garbage scavenger Eth Chay, 31.
The trio is accused of killing garment worker Khnoey Soeng, 31, who was lured to an apartment on the pretext of having a loans repaid, Col Vibol said.
He said the murder took place on June 19 at the suspects’ rental room in Stung Meanchey commune, where they bound their victim with electrical wires which they also used to strangle her.
All three have been charged with premeditated murder and face a life sentence if convicted. They have been jailed pending trial.
Major Ly Rithy, also with the Penal Police Unit, said that the three accused confessed during their interrogation that they had borrowed between $20 to $50 per month over several months from the victim in order to improve their businesses.
Maj Rithy said that upon knowing the victim owned jewellery and a luxury motorbike, the accused plotted to kill her in order to steal these items and avoid repaying their loans.
On the day of the murder, Ms Oeun persuaded the victim to come and collect the owed money, he said.
“But when the victim entered the room, Keo Sophaneth and Eth Chay, who were hiding inside, caught her and tied her legs and hands with electrical wires,” he said, noting that Ms Oeun then strangled the victim dead.
“After killing the victim, they wrapped her body with a blanket and hid it inside the room,” he said. “At the night, they put the body into a bread basket and transported it on her motorbike to throw into the canal.”
He said they later stole the victim’s motorbike, phone, money and jewellery. They pawned the motorbike for $550 at a shop in Tuol Kork district.
They then divided the loot and fled to their hometowns in Prey Veng province, where they were arrested on Friday following a complaint from the victim’s family that she had been missing since June 19.