Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday tried three men over the assault and robbery of a youth in Chamkar Mon district last year.
Presiding Judge Im Vannak identified the three accused as Noeun Piseth, 18, and Phin Sopha, 19, both school dropouts living in Sen Sok district, and Chhoum Sany, 49, a soldier who owns a motorbike pawnshop in Kampong Speu province.
He said that Mr Piseth and Mr Sopha were charged with theft with aggravating circumstances and face up to eight years in jail each if convicted, while Mr Sany was charged with receiving stolen goods and faces up to two years in prison if convicted. They were arrested on March 18 and 19 last year.
Judge Vannak said that about 12.30 pm on January 26 last year, the accused with four others on three motorbikes chased after two other youths who were on a Scoopy motorbike in order to steal the vehicle.
He identified the victims as Sok Heng, 19, and Lim Makara, 18, who had left a nightclub in Chamkar Mon district’s Boeng Keng Kang I commune and were heading toward their home in Por Senchey district’s Chom Chao II commune.
Judge Vannak said that the group of six youths stopped the victims along a quiet street in Chamkar Mon district and Mr Sopha took off his trouser belt and assaulted Mr Heng, who owned the motorbike. Mr Makara stood helplessly at the side of the road.
“The accused took the belt and beat the victim before snatching the motorbike key from him,” he said. “The accused also threatened to kill the victims if they shouted for help.”
“After snatching the key, Mr Sopha drove Mr Heng’s motorbike and fled the scene,” Judge Vannak added.
He noted that after the six youths had fled, the two victims walked to seek help from Chamkar Mon district police.
Judge Vannak said that Mr Piseth and Mr Sopha later brought the motorbike and sold it to Mr Sany at his motorbike pawnshop in Kampong Speu province.
He said that on March 18, police arrested Mr Sany after finding the motorbike in his shop and arrested Mr Piseth and Mr Sopha the following day in Phnom Penh.
Judge Vannak noted that police later returned the vehicle to Mr Heng.
During yesterday’s trial, Mr Piseth and Mr Sopha admitted the offence. Mr Piseth and Mr Sopha said the reason they stole the motorbike was because they had lost money gambling. Both requested the judges’ council to give them a light sentence.
Mr Piseth told the court that after he and Mr Sopha sold the motorbike to Mr Sany for $700, they shared the money with the other four men, who remain at large, and fled to Phnom Penh.
“I accept that I have committed the offence and I deeply regret my mistake,” he told the court. “I would like to ask the court to reduce my sentence.”
Mr Sany denied the allegations.
“I did not know those youths,” he told the court. “I also did not know that the Scoopy motorbike they sold me had been stolen.”
“If I had known, I would not have bought it even though it was being sold for a low price,” he added.
A verdict is due February 6.