Police have refused to discuss missing documents and the motivation of a man who
set himself alight near Prime Minister Hun Sen's residence in Phnom Penh.
Just before noon on November 17, the man knelt in front of a small shrine, praying
for about five minutes before dousing himself with petrol and setting himself on
fire, said witnesses.
He was taken to Calmette Hospital and spoke with difficulty to a medical team sent
by human rights group Licadho, saying "please let me go, let me die."
Police initially identified the man as Roeun from Prey Veng, but other sources say
his name was Ouk Vorn, a retired 65-year old motorcycle and bicycle mechanic from
Teuk La-ak II commune in Phnom Penh's Toul Kork district.
Motives for the suicide remain unclear and police refused to give further information
about a note or plastic bag of papers that police took from the scene, according
to different witnesses.
Tal Harhas, an Israeli tourist who was riding his bicycle past as the man was engulfed
by flames, said he saw another man take a note from the shrine and show it to a uniformed
But police were saying little about the event, referring comment to police chiefs
who were equally tight-lipped.
"If you want to know clearly, you can ask the governor of Phnom Penh,"
said Heng Pov, Phnom Penh municipal police chief.
Pro-Cambodian People's Party newspaper Chakraval published an afternoon edition on
November 18 with a photograph and story about the man, saying he was protesting about
fighting amongst Funcinpec leaders. Other sources claimed he had mental problems.
Unconfirmed sources say the man was born in Ba Phnom district in Prey Veng and worked
as an ambulance driver in Phnom Penh during the 1950s and 1960s before being sent
back to his homeland during the Khmer Rouge reign.