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Politics suspected in murder

Police have yet to find any leads in a Kandal murder case that a rights group said could be politically motivated, local authorities said yesterday.

Nhem Panha, 19, was found floating in a fishing net on the morning of September 17 in Ponhea Leu district’s Kampong Os commune.

Men Makara, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said Panha came from a family of known Cambodia National Rescue Party supporters and was previously involved in a scuffle with ruling party activists during the election campaign.

On September 15, Panha travelled to Phnom Penh to attend the CNRP’s mass demonstration at Freedom Park.

After visiting a friend’s home, Panha left at about 6pm to go home. He was not seen again until villagers found his body two days later.

“The victim was hacked with an axe in the neck and forehead. He had bruises on the left side of his body and his left leg was tied with a rope,” Makara said.

Penh Seth, Kampong Os commune police chief, said an investigation had been launched, but no clear motive or suspect had been found.

“It is hard [to investigate], because the victim’s body was found very far away from where the crime took place,” he said.

Tol Brasat, a CNRP party secretary, said the victim was an ardent opposition supporter.

“His family is poor and he wholeheartedly supported the CNRP. The victim loved the party and even had the figure seven shaved into his hair,” he said, referring to the party’s number on the July election ballots.



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