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Two men jailed over motorbike robberies

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times Share:
Rin Sarith leaves the municipal court. KT/Pann Rachana

Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday convicted and sentenced two accused men to five years each in jail in addition to their previous sentences for stealing two motorbikes in the middle of the night in Prek Pnov district in 2017.

Last year, the two were convicted for a string of motorbike thefts between 2016 and 2017. They were sentenced to 11 years in prison by Kandal Provincial Court in November for the thefts.

They are now convicted again over the two stolen motorbikes in Phnom Penh.

Presiding Judge Kor Vandy identified the two as 37-year-old Rin Sarith and 22-year-old Lam Vutha.

He added that both men were unemployed when they were arrested in Kandal province on June 23, 2017. They were charged with theft with aggravating circumstances.

“The court has convicted and sentenced both of them to five years each in prison for theft with aggravating circumstances,” Judge Vandy said. “The court orders them to pay two million riel [about $500] to put into the state budget.”

Judge Vandy said that at about 2.30am on April 2, 2017, the men and two other accomplices broke into the home of 35-year-old Khoeun Sokleang, a land broker from the district’s Ponhea Poan commune.

“They first poisoned the victim’s three dogs by giving them meat laced with poison,” he said. “After the dogs died, they broke a padlock to get passed a gate.”

“They then stole two Honda C125 motorbikes, which weren’t locked,” Judge Vandy added. “After that they fled with the motorbikes.”

He said the victim woke up at 5.30am, saw the dogs had died and the motorbikes were missing. He then lodged a complaint with commune police.

Mr Sarith and Mr Vutha were arrested in Kandal’s Kandal Stung district on June 23, 2017. The two other suspects are still at large.

Mr Sarith and Mr Vutha yesterday said the ruling by Phnom Penh Municipal Court was an injustice and they did not agree with it.

They added that they will appeal to the Appeal Court to overturn the charge.

During their hearing on August 20, the two men denied the allegations and said that they were wrongly arrested by police. They said they were beaten and tortured by police in order to extract a confession.

Mr Sarith told the court that he was with his wife at his home in Kandal on the night the robbery occurred.

“It’s an injustice,” he said. “I didn’t know anything, but police beat me and forced me to confess to a crime I did not commit.”

“I’m the victim in this case,” Mr Sarith added. “Please find truth and justice for me and drop the charge.”

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