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HRP activist killed in Kampong Cham

Local police say the death of activist Sim Net was a result of a robbery, but the victim's brother claims politics motivated his killers.

A HUMAN Rights Party activist was gunned down as he returned home in Kampong Cham province's Kandoal Chrum commune on Friday night, police said Sunday, blaming robbers for the death.

Sim Net, the HRP's commune president, was shot four times as he rode his motorbike home from a festival at Udom Mony pagoda at around 11:30pm, according to Ponhea Kraek district Deputy Police Chief Keo Noreaphy.

While he would not comment in detail on the incident, Keo Noreaphy said police were viewing the killing as the result of a robbery.

Disputed motives

But Sim Yan, Sim Net's younger brother, disputed the police's version of events, saying that his brother was targeted for his political activism in the local community.

"My brother is the president of the Human Rights Party in the commune. He has a lot of popularity," he said. "He was shot four times by a group of four people."

Kampong Cham provincial  police chief Nuon Samin told the Post Sunday that several suspects were being investigated in connection with the incident, but reiterated that the killing was not politically motivated.

"It is not a political story," he said. "When robberies happen to people in a political party, it is assumed to be a result of political motives; but when others are robbed why, don't we say they were politically motivated?"

HRP President Kem Sokha said he could not comment on the reason for the shooting, but added that the authorities should investigate before issuing pronouncements about its cause.  

"I do not know whether it is robbery or a political killing. It must be investigated first," he said.

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