Group tried over theft of nearly 26,000 jeans

Phnom Penh: Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday tried 13 construction workers who allegedly broke into a container truck and stole 25,800 pairs of jeans worth $200,000 at a garment factory in 2016.

Presiding Judge Im Vannak identified them as But Sarem, 30; Mean Chamroeun, 30; Tith Eng,40; Tim Kinal, 39; Sum Sareth, 58; Koy Sroeung, 36; Toan Cheath, 32; Chhay Kdeb, 37, Thean Phan, 32; Phoung Sophal, 38; Men Sorn, 38; Sem Sokvin, 27; and Thorun Sing, 25.

He said they were charged with thefts with aggravating circumstances and face up to seven years in jail each if convicted. They were arrested between September 8 and 12, last year.

Judge Vannak said that about 12.30 am on October 28, 2016, the accused stole a truck loaded, with 25,800 pairs of jeans, belonging to Golden Emperor Co Ltd.

He said the truck was parked in Russey Keo district’s Russey Keo commune.

Judge Vannak said that the jeans were meant to be transported to Preah Sihanouk provincial autonomous port and shipped to China.

He said that Mr Saren, drove the truck from Russey Keo commune to a quiet spot in Kampong Speu Province’s Oudong district.

“After parking the truck, they forced open the container and stole the shipment,” Judge Vannak said. “They transported the jeans in cars and fled while Mr Sarem drove the truck back to Russey Keo commune and abandoned it on the outskirts.

He added that all 13 accused were arrested between September 8 and 12 last year at different places by penal police in Ministry of Interior who investigated the case following a complaint from Sok Veasna, 33, the owner of the Golden Emperor Co.

At yesterday’s trial, Mr Sarem, Mr Eng, Mr Kinal, Mr Sareth, Mr Cheath and Mr Sorn, admitted committing the offence.

The other seven accused denied being involved in the theft and asked the court to drop the charges and release them.

A verdict is due April 5.