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Australian shot dead at guesthouse

An Australian man was shot and killed by two unknown assailants at a guesthouse in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district on Saturday night, police officials said.

A district police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Sunday that the victim was 44-year-old Australian Eric Liu, who arrived in Cambodia on Saturday.

He added that the victim was welcomed by his girlfriend and her relatives at the airport and was then taken to Reaksmey Thansuo guesthouse in Stung Meanchey commune.

The officer said the victim was gunned down in the guesthouse’s reception area at around 9.30pm.

Liu was shot twice, in the chest and right hand, by two unknown men on a motorbike and later died at Calmette hospital, where his body is being kept under instructions from Australian consular officials.

“He had no disputes with anyone in Cambodia and his girlfriend claims she has no husband, but that she was loved by a Chinese man who works at a shoe factory in Kandal province,” the officer said. “We are investigating this case because we suspect it resulted from a dispute over the girl.”

Phnom Penh municipal police chief Touch Naruth agreed that the killing was likely the result of “vindictiveness”, since the Australian man was “coming to Cambodia to meet his Cambodian girlfriend”, but declined to comment further.

Chuon Narin, chief of the municipal police department’s serious crime bureau, added Sunday that police were hunting for the suspects and gathering evidence in the case.

Chhouy Meng, head of the emergency care unit at Calmette Hospital, said he was not aware of Liu’s case and that his name did not appear on the hospital’s patient registry.

Australian embassy officials could not be reached for comment Sunday, but Radio Australia reported yesterday that consular officials from the Australian Embassy were working closely with local authorities on the case.

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