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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Pelika's murderers remain free two years later

Pelika's murderers remain free two years later


Two years after the murder of entertainer and cultural icon Piseth Pelika,

police report no leads or suspects in the case.

Slain Cambodian icon Piseth Pelika

Lao Soun Pa, Director of

the Criminal Department of the Ministry of Interior, told the Post on July 2

that police have no idea who gunned down Pelika in broad daylight near O'Russey

Market on July 6, 1999. Pelika, 34, died in surgery at Calmette Hospital seven

days later.

"We are continuing our investigation," Soun Pa said. "It is

normal that in the cases of murder the cases remain open and under


Soun Pa was unable to say how many officers were working

on the case and what direction the investigation was taking two years after the


Pelika's funeral was attended by tens of thousands of mourning

fans, many of whom alleged official links to her murder.

Those conspiracy

theories were fanned in October, 1999 when the French magazine L'Express

published extracts purportedly from Pelika's personal diary in which she alleged

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

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

was later confirmed by handwriting and fingerprint experts.

The Post

published the full document later that month.

Pelika's diary stated her

affair with Hun Sen began in August 1998 and continued until early 1999 when Hun

Sen ended the relationship at Bun Rany's insistence. The diary's May 10, 1999

entry notes a warning Pelika received from National Police Director Hok Lundy

that she had been targeted by Bun Rany. Two months later Pelika was


After publication of diary extracts in L'Express, Hun Sen advisor

Om Yen Tieng announced that Bun Rany would seek to clear her name in courts in

Paris and Phnom Penh - something that she has so far made no move to do.


"This is not my responsibility, ask a lawyer" Yen Tieng responded to Post

enquiries regarding the status of Bun Rany's threatened lawsuit.

Yen Tieng

likewise had no comment on the pro-gress of Pelika's murder


Pelika's sister Sao Vina, whose daughter Saren Sereiman

was wounded in the shooting, told the Post in a phone interview from France that

she was convinced Bun Rany was responsible for Pelika's murder. Vina and her

family relocated to France shortly after Pelika's funeral due to concerns for

their personal safety.

"We truly believe that [Pelika's murder] was

related to [her affair] with Hun Sen," Vina said. "We think that the murderers

were ordered by Bun Rany... Hun Sen's wife was behind the murderers."


Galabru, President of the human rights organization Licadho, described the lack

of progress in the Pelika murder case as yet another example of the problem of

impunity in Cambodia.

"It's very frustrating for us to see that the

perpetrators of the Piseth Pelika murder and of acid attacks and the rape of

children are not brought to justice," Galabru said. "We really hope that the

government will act on these matters."



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