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Killer gets 23 years for ‘extremely brutal’ murder of fellow refugee

Ranny Yun was killed in Springvale in 1987

Ranny Yun was killed in Springvale in 1987

“You were able to go on with your life without facing any consequences for the murder of Ranny Yun. You must now face those consequences.”

Mean was a school student in 1987 and authorities believed he was about 14 because he didn’t have a birth certificate from his native Cambodia, so he went under the radar of police investigating Ms Yun’s murder.

Soon after the 27-year-old’s death, the Mean family moved to Western Australia and it was there he lived a largely law-abiding life, married and raised a family.

But by 2017 improvements in scientific technology assisted detectives looking at the cold case, and they found that a DNA sample on Ms Yun’s body was his. Mean told police in 2017 he had discovered Ms Yun’s body, became aroused and masturbated in the room.

The jury rejected his claim and found him guilty of murder.

Prosecutors argued Mean was closer to 19 or 20 in age at the time, based on the evidence of Ms Yun’s husband, Kuy Hieang Thong, who said that when he left Cambodia in the early 1970s Mean was about six or seven.

Mr Thong also said he was later asked by Mean’s family to lodge the boy’s date of birth as April 1973 so he could attend school.

Mr Thong and Ms Yun knew the Mean family in a refugee camp in Malaysia in the 1980s, and stayed close when they all began new lives as refugees in Springvale.

Justice Dixon said Ms Yun was likely attacked from behind and killed in a place that should have been safe, and that Mean’s crime also contained a sexual nature.

“You murdered Ranny Yun in an extremely brutal manner,” the judge told the killer.

“Although you were a young person in 1987 you were able to subdue Ranny Yun in the course of attacking¬†her. You were also old enough to appreciate the seriousness of taking a life.”

Among the victim impact statements was one from Ms Yun’s brother, Tha Yun, who said he never saw his sister after they went into separate labour camps in the 1970s in Cambodia, and that it was years later that he discovered she was murdered while trying to establish a new life in her adopted home.

Justice Dixon said Mean had never acknowledged his crime nor shown remorse. Although a mature man now, his sentence had to reflect he was a young and immature at the time of the crime.

The judge also acknowledged Mean’s isolation in prison due to his limited English and because his family was on the other side of the country.

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At trial, Mean’s lawyers argued there was a real possibility Ms Yun was killed by her husband, as Mr Thong began a secret relationship with a woman in 1986, and there was an allegation he raped another woman at knifepoint.

Jurors were told they also couldn’t discount the chance Ms Yun was killed by someone unknown over her alleged association with the Khmer Rouge, as Mr Thong had said she told him she had an association with the regime.

The trial heard Mr Thong was playing cards with friends in Nunawading on the afternoon of his wife’s murder.

Mean must serve 17 years before he is eligible for parole. He has served more than 700 days since his extradition from Perth.

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