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Three sentenced to five years in jail over motorbike theft

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times Share:
The convicted thieves leave court. KT/Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday sentenced three men found guilty of stealing a motorbike last year to five years in prison each.

Judge Im Vannak identified the three as 18-year-old Noeun Piseth, 19-year-old Phin Sopha, and Chhoum Sany, owner of a motorbike shop in Kampong Speu province.

Judge Vannak said Mr Piseth and Mr Sopha were both found guilty of theft with aggravating circumstances, while Mr Sany was found guilty of theft with aggravating circumstances and receiving stolen goods.

“The court has decided to convict them and sentence them to five years in prison each,” he said. “The court orders them to pay $250 to be put in the state’s coffers.”

Judge Vannak said that on January 26 last year at about 12:30pm, Mr Piseth and Mr Sopha, along with four others, robbed victims Sok Heng and Lim Makara in Chamkar Mon district’s Boeng Keng Kang I commune as the latter were returning home after a night out.

He noted that Mr Sopha assaulted Mr Heng prior to fleeing with the motorbike.

“The accused took his belt and beat the victim with it. He then snatched the key away from the victim,” Judge Vannak said. “The accused threatened to kill the victim if the victim did not comply.”

“After seizing the motorbike, Mr Sopha and his peers fled the scene,” he added.

According to Judge Vannak, after surviving the ordeal the victims reported the incident to district police and filed complaints.

Mr Sopha then sold the stolen motorbike to Mr Sany in Kampong Speu.

Judge Vannak said Mr Sany was arrested on March 18 last year after police tracked the stolen motorbike to Mr Sany’s shop.

Mr Sany then confessed to purchasing the motorbike from Mr Sopha and Mr Piseth, leading to their arrests the following day.

However, during last month’s trial, Mr Sopha said he did know the motorbike was stolen.

“I did not know those guys, I did not know the Scopy motorbike they sold me was stolen,” he said. “If I had known, I would not have bought it – I bought it because it was cheap.”

Last month, Mr Piseth and Mr Sopha told the court that they were avid gamblers and they needed the money to fund their habit.

Mr Piseth confessed he sold the victim’s motorbike to Mr Sany for $700, adding that the money was split six ways.

“I accept what I did and what the court accused me of,” he said during the trial. “I regret what I did. I would like to ask the court to reduce the sentence.”

Police are now looking to arrest the rest of Mr Piseth’s accomplices, who are still at large.

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