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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Police eye bomb plot links

Police eye bomb plot links

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090109_03.jpg

Authorities say the masterminds of last week's bomb plot may also have been behind the 2007 attack on the Cambodian-Vietnamese Friendship Monument

Photo by: KEM SOVANNARA

A bomb squad safely detonates an explosive device left outside state television station TV3 on January 2.

POLICE say that their initial investigations into last week's bomb plot that appeared to target the Defence Ministry and a state television station have led them to suspect the perpetrators may be linked to those who executed a similar bomb plot at the Cambodian-Vietnamese Friendship Monument in July 2007, an official from the Ministry of Interior told the Post Thursday.

Three explosive devices found on January 2 in front of the Defence Ministry and near the offices of TV3 were disassembled and destroyed by mine clearance personnel. In the 2007 plot, three fertiliser bombs were found and safely detonated near the monument, situated in the park opposite  Phnom Penh's Wat Botum.

Em Sam An, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Interior and president of the National Secretariat for Anti-Terrorism, said "police now suspect the perpetrators were also connected to the bombing at the [monument]."

Early days yet

Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith said one of two suspects in connection with the foiled plot was arrested Wednesday. The suspect, Som Ek, 44, was arrested in Palelai village, O'Chrov district, Banteay Meanchey province, by police cooperating with the Internal Security Department of the Secretary General Commission National Police stationed in Poipet, said Sun Savuth, deputy criminal police chief for O'Chrov district.

In addition to involvement in the foiled bombing attempt, the warrant used to arrest Som Ek also accused him of attempting to use explosives to destroy the friendship monument in July 2007, Sun Savuth said. Som Ek was the only person listed on the warrant.

Man of many names

Sun Savuth said Som Ek moved around frequently and went by eight different names: Som Ek, Ti To, Srun Seng, Chao Sakada, Chea Kimhoun, Seung Kamsan, Phat Vathna and Meng Saray.

Em Sam An said he expected there would be more arrests in the case but refused to comment further.

"Let the police work on the case for one or two more days," he said.  

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