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Russian arrested in Sihanoukville murder

A Russian man allegedly involved in the gruesome murder of a compatriot in Sihanoukville in July has been arrested in his homeland and is facing murder charges, according to Russian authorities.

On July 19, the body of Russian national Denis Goncharov, 28, was found floating in a canal near Sihanoukville’s popular Otres Beach. His throat was cut and he had multiple stab wounds.

Although Cambodian police announced quickly afterwards that they had identified a Russian suspect, it appears the man managed to flee to Russia before being arrested on November 5 in Saint Petersburg.

The suspect, who is from the city of Petrozavodsk and is also 28, is to be tried by the court of the Republic of Karelia, the federal subject of Russia of which Petrozavodsk is the capital.

Russian investigators found that the suspect was previously acquainted with Goncharov and had a deadly quarrel with him two days before his body was found.

“During the quarrel the accused caused the victim multiple stab wounds,” read a statement from the Republic of Karelia’s investigative committee.

“As a result, the victim died, and the accused fled the scene and arrived in Russia.”

The Karelia court only learned of Goncharov’s case after his relatives appealed directly to it, the statement added.

Vitaly Konovalov, a spokesman for the committee, declined to provide the suspect’s name or discuss his motives, saying that the investigation wasn’t yet at the stage where information could go public.

He said, however, that based on his understanding, the investigative committee worked independently – not with Cambodian authorities – to find the suspect, who remains under detention while the investigation continues.

Nhet Phorn, penal office chief in Preah Sihanouk province’s police department, said he was not aware of the suspect’s arrest in Russia nor did he remember the man’s name, although he did remember the case.

He said that after Cambodian authorities investigated the incident, a court issued a warrant for the suspect’s arrest.

“We also sent the warrant to Interpol to arrest the suspect. We always do the same thing for such cases,” he said.

Preah Sihanouk police chief Chuon Narin could not be reached yesterday. The Russian Embassy did not respond to a request for comment.

Douglas McColl, head of the Sihanoukville Tourism Association, heralded the arrest as an “enormous positive” for the city, which saw a rash of high-profile crime in the first half of the year. “One of the frustrations is always how many criminals don’t get brought to justice,” he said.

An earlier version of this story reported that the home city of the case's suspect was Petroplavosk. However, he is from Petrozavodsk.
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