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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - One year later, Pelika's murderers still free

One year later, Pelika's murderers still free

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Piseth Pelika ... her diary named Hun Sen as her lover and spoke of her fear that Hun Sen's wife would have her killed.

AYEAR after Cambodia's beloved actress and dancer Piseth Pelika was gunned down

near Phnom Penh's Orasey Market, authorities say they still do not have a suspect

for her murder. Pelika died at Calmette Hospital seven days after the attack. She

was 34.

Three months after her death the Post published her diary in full, in which Pelika

alleged a sexual relationship with Prime Minister Hun Sen and fears that Bun Rany,

the Prime Minister's wife, planned to kill her. The authenticity of the diary was

confirmed by handwriting and fingerprint experts.

Her diary said her affair with Hun Sen started in August 1998 and continued till

early 1999 when Hun Sen ended the relationship at Bun Rany's insistence. Pelika wrote

that on May 10, 1999, National Police Director Hok Lundy warned her she might be

the target of Bun Rany's wrath. Two months later Pelika was dead.

After extracts from the diary were published, Hun Sen's advisor, Om Yentieng, issued

statements denying all allegations of the affair, and of Bun Rany's involvement in

the actress's death. However, Yentieng did confirm a poem found among Pelika's papers

was written by the Prime Minister, but said it was irrelevant. Instead he accused

opposition leader Sam Rainsy of fabricating the allegations.

Yentieng said Bun Rany would seek to clear her name at courts in Phnom Penh and Paris

- something she has so far made no move to do.

Hok Lundy also denied any involvement, saying he never met with Pelika. He too accused

Rainsy of concocting the story.

In October 1999 police General Teng Savong said investigations into the murder were

proceeding.

A nephew of Pelika told the Post the family has not communicated with the police

about the investigation since August last year. The family plans to have a small,

private ceremony to commemorate the anniversary of her death.

The President of the human rights NGO Licadho, Dr Kek Galabru, said she is very disappointed

that no real investigation took place for the Pelika murder.

"The police should do something - this is a crime and normally the police would

investigate," Galabru said. "Cambodia has a reputation for a having a culture

of impunity. This is another case of impunity." She said local NGOs and the

international community should urge the Government to launch a serious investigation.

General Savong said on July 6 that the police are still investigating the murder.

When asked by the Post if police had any leads, Savong said: "I will not answer

this question."

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