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Tiger Head revisited

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Sok Em, the alleged leader of the anti-government Tiger Head Movement, is escorted to Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday to face new charges of plotting to murder a Chinese national.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday brought a new charge against Som Ek, the alleged leader of the anti-government Tiger Head Movement, accusing him of being an accomplice in the attempted murder of a Chinese man over a decade ago.

Som Ek was given a 28-year prison sentence in October for planting explosives near the Defence Ministry and a state-run TV station, as well as recruiting and training terrorists for his anti-government group. In the month prior, he was sentenced to 18 years for his role in a failed 2007 bomb plot targeting the Cambodian-Vietnamese Friendship Monument.

Judge Din Sivuthy said the new charge was brought against Som Ek following a complaint from Fong Chi, a 44-year-old Chinese national, who claims the suspect was part of a group that tried to kill him in 2000. Fong Chi did not appear in court yesterday.

Som Ek denied the charges, claiming it was a set-up by the Cambodian government.

“I know nothing about this case and I have not been involved or committed it,” he said. “I think that this new charge against me is very unjust and an exaggeration prepared by the Cambodian government.”

Din Sivuthy said the hearing would conclude by the end of March. If convicted, he said Som Ek could face an additional five years in prison.

When handing out October’s 28-year sentence, Din Sivuthy accused Som Ek of “creating the Tiger Head Movement so he could plot against the government”.

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