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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - More hotel arrests pending hotel bomb case

More hotel arrests pending hotel bomb case

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Yasushi Akashi, former head of the Untac mission, returned to Cambodia on July 8 on a private three-day visit, the first since his departure following the 1993 Untac-organised elections.

P rosecutors are still seeking the arrest of another four to five people in connection

to the bombing of two Phnom Penh hotels on July 4 according to Ngeth Sarath, Deputy

Prosecutor of the Phnom Penh court.

Sarath said that the court has a list of the suspects' names but authorities were

unable to say when they would be arrested.

"Even the FBI can't say when they might catch their suspects...I can say that

the investigation is in progress and we hope that sooner or later they will be arrested,"

said Ministry of Information spokesman Khieu Sopheak.

Three men - former Funcinpec Lieutenant Colonel Ouk Sathya, Than Borin, 29, and 31-year-old

former soldier Chriek Mao have been charged with terrorism over the attack that resulted

in the deaths of three people. Terrorism convictions carry a minimum 10-year sentence.

Sathya surrendered to police on the evening of July 12 and has been named as the

ringleader in the July 4 bomb attack on Moniving Boulevard's Hong Kong Hotel and

Hotel Favour.

Sathya, who maintains his innocence, was fingered by Mao as the brains behind the

operation. Mao, who has confessed to the crime, told police that Sathya offered the

men a $100,000 fee to plant the bombs.

No trial date has been set and the suspects may be kept in detention for the next

six months according to Deputy Prosecutor Sareth. However police say they are yet

to make any definitive conclusion about the true motivation for the crime.

The blasts were both preceded by demands for money from members of a group calling

itself "Maria", but authorities are remaining tight-lipped about whether

the group is a terrorist organization or an extortion ring.

"Now, I can not answer, [the National Police] have just started working [on

the case]", Hok Lundy, Director of National Police, told the Post.

Sreng Sreang, Director of the MoI's Prison Department, has been suspended from

his post and placed under house arrest for allegedly advising one of the three suspects

not to confess to the crime.

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