A construction tycoon who previously accused Commerce Minister Sun Chanthol, his brother-in-law, of fabricating an elaborate criminal case in order to position himself to receive a greater share of the family’s vast fortune, has retracted his accusations in a letter of apology.
Khaou Phallaboth, the president of construction company Khaou Chuly MKK Co., a firm founded by his father Khaou Chuly, sent a letter to Mr. Chanthol in November apologizing for accusing the commerce minister of framing his stepmother, Khaou Seng Chanda, who is serving 20 years in prison for plotting to rape and murder Mr. Chanthol’s wife and daughter.
Mr. Phallaboth sent the letter, which he signed and thumbprinted, “to apologize for his fault and prevent the public inside and outside the country from misunderstanding about the family His Excellency [Mr. Chanthol],” the letter says.
“The speech in which I accused His Excellency Sun Chanthol and Her Excellency Sun Sotha [Mr. Chanthol’s wife and Mr. Phallaboth’s sister] of creating this case on purpose to accuse Seng Chanda and Lay Huong in order to occupy the property of Khaou Chuly’s family was a misunderstanding and is absolutely seriously wrong,” Mr. Phallaboth writes.
“His Excellency Sun Chanthol and Her Excellency Sun Sotha never wanted property from Khaou Chuly’s family, not even one dollar,” the letter continues.
Mr. Phallaboth writes he has come to realize that Ms. Seng Chanda and Lay Huong, a woman* he describes as his mistress, were in fact deceitful people who plotted to rape and murder Mr. Chanthol’s wife and daughter in order to steal the Chuly family fortune.
“I am very regretful that I defended Seng Chanda and Lay Huong, who colluded and had a plan to rape and kill my older sister Sun Sotha and my niece,” the letter says.
In February 2011, Ms. Seng Chanda was convicted of conspiring with Chan Sokha, one of her maids at the time, to hire Neang Sinat, a maid who worked for Mr. Chanthol, to ensure access to his and Ms. Sotha’s villa on the night of the planned murders in 2010.
None of the suspects were seen at Mr. Chanthol’s villa on the night of the attempted murder, and no harm ever came to his wife or daughter. The central evidence implicating Ms. Seng Chanda was testimony by the two maids, Ms. Sokha and Ms. Sinat, who pleaded innocent in the initial municipal court trial but later confessed to their role in the foiled assassination plot.
The only physical evidence of a planned crime was a window allegedly left ajar by one of the maids, but closed by Ms. Sotha, thwarting her rape and murder.
Huy Sokleap, the daughter of Ms. Seng Chanda, said she believed Mr. Phallaboth was forced to write the letter of contrition.
“I think that maybe someone forced him [Mr. Phallaboth] to do this, and maybe he is scared of the power of His Excellency Sun Chanthol,” Ms. Sokleap said.
“The case in which my mother is accused is not true because my mother did not commit the crime.”
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