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Two soldiers charged over SUV theft

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times Share:
The two soldiers charged over the theft of an SUV in Sihanoukville. Kampuchea Thmey

Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court yesterday charged two soldiers who allegedly stole a luxury car from a high-ranking military officer in Preah Sihanouk province.

Brigadier General Kol Phally, provincial general crimes department chief, identified the accused as Lay Sophon, 39, a soldier and driver for a high-ranking-military officer, and Hong Saroeun, 50, a soldier at the Takeo Provincial Military Operation Base.

He noted that Mr Sophon was charged with theft with aggravating circumstances, while Mr Saroeun was charged with theft with aggravating circumstances and unauthorised possession of a weapon.

Brig Gen Phally said that Mr Sophon was arrested on Saturday afternoon in Kandal province and Mr Saroeun was arrested in the evening in Takeo province. After their arrests, police seized the stolen car, a pistol and some bullets from them.

Both accused are now in prison pending trial.

Captain Sok Bunseng, a provincial penal police officer, yesterday said that at about 12pm on Friday, Mr Sophon and Mr Saroeun stole a Toyota Fortuner from Kim Heang, a high-ranking-military officer, from his villa in Sihanoukville while he and his family were on holiday.

Items seized from the accused. Kampuchea Thmey

“When they entered the house to steal the SUV they found that a maid had stayed behind to look after the house,” he said. “They tied up the maid, Chea Sear, 56, and taped her mouth shut so that she would not raise alarm.”

“After stealing the car, they drove it to sell in Kandal province,” Cap Bunseng added.

He said that after they fled, Ms Sear managed to loosen the tape on her mouth at around midnight and shouted for help.

Cap Bunseng noted that neighbours alerted police who freed her from the ropes at about 2am on Saturday.

He said that Mr Sophon was arrested that afternoon by Preah Sihanouk provincial police in cooperation with Kandal provincial police while he was driving the SUV to sell at a garage in Takhmao city.

Cap Bunseng said that based on Mr Sophon’s confession, police arrested Mr Saroeun that evening in his house in Takeo province’s Traing district and seized a gun, ten bullets and other military paraphernalia from him.

He added that during their interrogations, Mr Saroeun confessed that he was sentenced to 13 years in prison for murder by Takeo Provincial Court in 2000 and was freed in 2013.

Mr Sophon confessed that he had been convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to 11 years in prison by Kandal Provincial Court in 2000. He was released from prison in 2011.

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