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Police still questioning ex-monk over killing

Police still questioning ex-monk over killing

Provincial police in Kampong Speu are seeking a warrant to search the home of a former monk suspected of being involved in the shooting of 76-year-old monk Moeung Om at the one-year anniversary of a funeral on Saturday evening, an official said.

Om, the deputy chief monk at Ang Sneat pagoda in Samrong Tong district, was shot in the back of the head by someone who appeared to be standing at very close range behind a curtain that was set up on a stage for Om’s sermon. The ceremony took place in the district’s Thmey village.

Chea Saran, 33, a former monk at Ang Sneat pagoda who was said to have argued with Om in the past, was called in for questioning after the murder, but has not been charged, Sam Sak, chief of the crime bureau in Kampong Speu, said yesterday.

“Until now, we have not yet found evidence that the burden is on him [Chea Saran], but we are detaining him for 48 hours to continue to question him, and we will ask for a search warrant from the court to register a search at his home to make sure whether or not he was involved with the murder,” he said. “So we still do not accuse him, because we have no evidence of the burden [of guilt].”

Sak also said that Saran had been defrocked, not out of any disagreement with Om, but because his parents wanted him to get engaged.

Om’s body, meanwhile, is being prepared for a traditional Buddhist funeral.

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