The chief judge at Phnom Penh Municipal Court has been replaced, in a shake-up at the behest of Prime Minister Hun Sen, as the court pursues an ongoing murder investigation.
The chief suspect in the murder, Thong Sarath, appears to have fled the country, though five of his bodyguards are currently in jail and are being questioned for the murder of powerful business tycoon Ung Meng Chue, in November.
The suspect’s parents, meanwhile—father Thong Cham Roeun, 65, and mother Keo Sary, 55—were arrested amid a cache of weapons found during a police raid at his home in December.
They were released on bail earlier this month and on Sunday were re-arrested during an apparent bid to abscond to Vietnam. They were placed back in prison on Monday.
In a public speech on Tuesday morning, Hun Sen called on the Supreme Council of Magistracy, which oversees the courts, to “take immediate action on this case, no matter what,” due to the release of the parents in the first place.
Hours after Hun Sen’s order, the chief of Phnom Penh’s court, Ang Maldey, was fired and replaced by his subordinate, Taing Sun Lay.