A small party politician and seven others were convicted and sentenced to prison for an armed robbery of a popular online seller in 2021.
The case relates to a robbery at the home of an online cosmetics seller in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey district. The group of thieves had allegedly stolen three diamond necklaces, with a combined value of around $2 million.
William Guang, whose real name is Sok Sovann Vathana Sabung, was convicted for theft under aggravating circumstances, possession of illegal weapons and forging of public documents, and was sentenced to nine years in prison as the mastermind of the operation. Guang was the president of the Khmer Rise Party at the time of his arrest.
Seven others were also convicted on Tuesday. Or Ramorn, Sovann Ranuth, Net Phai Mony and Chuob Sopheaktra were given eight years in prison for the theft and weapons charge. Sopheaktra was tried in absentia and is absconding.
Ket Mach, Thon Vathnak Boramey and Sovann Sreysoriyorpor were sentenced to six years in prison for conspiracy to commit theft and forging public documents. Mach is Guang’s colleague from the Khmer Rise Party.
They were ordered to pay $500,000 as damages to Sivmey and around $50,000 in compensation for emotional distress.
During a trial hearing in June, some of the defendants seemed to change their testimony placing the blame for the robbery on Sopheaktra, with a judge doubting their intentions.
“You are making changes to your testimony in order to protect him, aren’t you?” the judge asked, referring to Guang.
During the hearing, Ranuth said Sopheaktra had set up the heist and he was in charge of cutting off the Wi-Fi, while another associate went up to the house and showed a document to the victim when she opened the door.
The group then tied the five or six people in the house, even tasering one person with an electric baton, Ranuth said at the hearing in early June.