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Men jailed for life over rape-murder

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times Share:
The two taxi drivers jailed for life over the rape and murder of a passenger. DAP News

Svay Rieng Provincial Court on Friday sentenced two taxi drivers to life in jail and ordered them to jointly pay $60,000 in compensation for gang-raping and murdering an 18-year-old casino worker whose body they threw into a paddy field canal in the province last year.

Presiding Judge Sovann Chankrisna identified the two as Chheuy Sopheap, 36, and Phleak Mony, 35, who were convicted of rape and murder over the killing of Sovann Sokmalin at about 8pm on August 2.

“The court decided to convict both of them to life in prison,” Judge Chankrisna said. “It also orders them to jointly pay $60,000 to the victim’s father Buoy Sovann, 38.”

He added that the two killers, who lived in the province’s Bavet city, were arrested on August 8 last year.

Provincial police chief Major General King Khorn said Mr Sopheap was arrested in the province and Mr Mony in Phnom Penh later that day.

He said that they confessed to killing Ms Sokmalin, who on August 2 had hailed a ride in Mr Sopheap’s Highlander in Phnom Penh to travel to Svay Rieng where she worked at the Good Luck Casino in Bavet city.

Maj Gen Khorn said that Mr Mony, who was also carrying passengers to the province, trailed Mr Sopheap’s taxi and, being friends, they kept chatting with each other on their phones.

He added that the two men kept talking about Ms Sokmalin’s beauty and hatched a plot to rape and rob her.

Maj Gen Khorn noted that at about 8pm, Mr Sopheap and Mr Mony both dropped off most of their their passengers, after which Mr Monay dropped off his taxi and got into Mr Sopheap’s vehicle with the victim still present.

They then told the victim they would take her directly to her home.

“Along the way they took the victim to a secluded place,” Maj Gen Khorn said. “Both then took turns to rape her.”

“After the gang rape, they strangled her with wires and stole her money and jewellery,” he added.

Maj Gen Khorn noted that Mr Sopheap then drove to the province’s Bavet commune where both men tied Ms Sokmalin’s body to a large stone and threw it into a paddy field canal.

He said that the rope holding the stone later broke and the body floated up.

“At about 2.30pm on August 4, some children, who were tending to buffaloes in the paddy field, saw the body and alerted local police who identified her and found out where she worked,” Maj Gen Khorn said. “During an investigation, police spoke to some of the other passengers who were with Ms Sokmalin in the taxi and tracked Mr Sopheap down.” He added that after his arrest, Mr Sopheap confessed to the rape and murder and said that Mr Mony was also involved.

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