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Leader of terror group questioned by court

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday questioned Som Ek, the convicted leader of the so-called Tiger Head Movement terror group, on new charges, accusing him of being an accomplice in the attempted murder of Chinese businessman Fong Chi in Phnom Penh in 2000, a court clerk said.

“If he is found guilty, he will face a sentence of at least another five years in prison, in addition to his previous sentences,” said the clerk, who declined to be named.

He added that Ek had been accused by Fong himself, but declined to comment on Fong’s business activities or his case.

Investigating judge Chang Sinath, who questioned Ek, could not be reached.

Ek denied the accusations yesterday, and asked that the charges be dropped.  

“I know nothing about this murder case, and I also wasn’t involved and didn’t commit the crime as accused,” he said, calling it an accusation “made by the Cambodian government aiming to keep me in prison longer”.

In 2010, Ek was sentenced to 28 years in prison for bomb plots against the Ministry of Defence and state television station TV3, and to another 18 years for a separate plot against the Cambodian-Vietnamese Friendship Monument.

He has long contested the convictions as being motivated by his involvement in the Khmer National Unity Front, which he maintained was a non-violent political organisation. At his appeal hearing last November, he said that he had been forced to confess to the bomb plots when police kidnapped his pregnant wife.

To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at reaksmeykongkea.buth@phnompenhpost.com

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