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Fisheries chief brutally slain, police say

KAMPONG Thom police are investigating the slaying of the provincial fisheries administration chief found dead in his office this week, the provincial police commissioner told the Post Tuesday.

Chea San said his officers are working as rapidly as possible to identify a suspect in the case with cooperation from the provincial court prosecutor.

The victim, Ek Heng, 37, was discovered on Monday in his office with severe trauma to the head likely caused by a large knife, Chea San said.

"This murder is a big case, and we are working furiously to solve it," Chea San said. "I cannot comment any further as we are now in the middle of a manhunt."

Ek Heng was tapped to lead Kampong Thom's Fisheries Administration early this year.

Un Thanann, a provincial coordinator with the rights group Adhoc, told the Post he last saw Ek Heng on December 12 at the O'Chak fishing community during a meeting to resolve disputes over fishing grounds in Stung district.

He said he did not know who could have been responsible for Ek Heng's slaying but that the killer was probably someone the Fisheries Administration chief had known.

Unidentified man

"Before his death, [Ek Heng] had lunch with an unidentified man before returning to his office," Un Thanann said.

"As a manager, he was not strict or soft. We don't know who might have liked him or disliked him, and there could have been numerous reasons behind the attack," he said.

Kampong Thom Governor Nam Tum, who was in Phnom Penh on Tuesday, told the Post he had been informed of the slaying and had directed provincial police to conduct a thorough investigation.

Nao Thuok, director general of the Fisheries Administration at the Ministry of Agriculture, said Ek Heng's death was a great loss and described him as "a very gentle man".

"I have sent officials to attend the funeral and to collect more information about his death," he said.

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