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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Murder, affiliation debated

Murder, affiliation debated

The Human Rights Party is accusing a police officer of fatally shooting one of its activists in a politically motivated killing on Friday in Kampong Cham province’s Cheung Prey district, though multiple sources say the slain man actually defected to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party two years ago.

Seng Seangly, president of the HRP in Kampong Cham, told the Post yesterday that 53-year-old HRP activist Yem Oun was killed on Friday evening in Kouk Rovieng commune after being shot in the chest twice.

“We have been investigating this case … He is our party activist,” Seng Seangly said.

On Saturday, the HRP issued a statement condemning the “politically motivated murder” and urging authorities to arrest the killer, who the party said was a police officer.

However, district police chief Heng Sothy rejected such claims yesterday, saying no police officers were involved in the shooting. “We know the identity of the suspect, and we are deploying forces to catch him,” he said.

The police chief also said that the victim was actually a CPP member who had defected from the HRP two years ago and that he was the god-brother of commune chief.

Rejecting the claim that the shooting was politically motivated, the police chief said it was nothing more than an “individual dispute between neighbours who had a verbal argument”.

“It is not a political matter,” Heng Sothy said, accusing the HRP of not co-operating with authorities and “taking political advantage” of the situation.

Tem Phat, Kouk Rovieng commune chief, and Neang Sovath, officer for rights group Adhoc, also told the Post yesterday that Yem Oun had defected to the CPP in 2010.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kim Yuthana at yuthana.kim@phnompenhpost.com

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