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Former Khmer Rouge Rebel gets Life Sentence for Tourist Murder

Issued: 24 December 2002

A former Khmer Rouge commander who ordered the abduction and murder of Australian David Wilson, Briton Mark Slater, and Frenchman Jean-Michel, three backpackers in 1994 was sentenced to life in prison and ordered to pay compensation to his victims' families. 

Sam Bith, 70 was the most senior of three Khmer Rouge commanders and was blamed as a mastermind of the slaying. About a dozen of Cambodians were killed in the attack on the train and the three backpackers were killed weeks later as government troops tried to storm the mountain base where they were being held.

Sam Bith himself tried to excuse that he was receiving the medical treatment in Thailand when the kidnap took place. However, a letter from the Thai hospital disputed Bith's claims. It said the hospital had no record of Bith's stay and did not open until November 1994, a month after Bith said he was a patient there. Sam Bith escaped justice for eight years before being arrested in May this year.


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