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Activist’s murder not political: cop

CNRP deputy president Kem Sokha comforts the family of an activist, Sann Soeun, 67, in Kampong Speu province.
CNRP deputy president Kem Sokha comforts the family of an activist, Sann Soeun, 67, in Kampong Speu province. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Activist’s murder not political: cop

The victim in a Kampong Speu province murder, for which two men – one a famous boxer – were arrested on Monday, was a local Cambodia National Rescue Party activist, but his killing was likely unrelated to politics, police maintained.

CNRP deputy president Kem Sokha attended shopkeeper and activist Sann Soeun’s funeral yesterday, but according to deputy provincial police chief Sam Samuon, the killing was born of a personal dispute.

“[The suspects] have already confessed, so we are investigating further to find the people who hired them. But this is absolutely not a political matter,” Samuon said. “It was pure spite.”

Soeun, 67, was killed on Monday night when the two suspects – Chhuong Vannak, aka Rasmey or Ngol, 34, and boxer Try Kunthor, 32 – allegedly came to his store to buy a case of beer.

After handing Soeun the money, one of the men shot Soeun in the back of the head with a K-59 pistol as he turned around to get change, then fled the scene.

Adhoc provincial investigator Roath Thavy said he was still investigating but, while it was too early to make conclusions, Soeun had been an active campaigner for the opposition.

“Just in Treng Trayoeng commune alone, he earned 2,000 votes for the CNRP over the CPP,” he said.

Thavy added he was also curious about the model of gun used by the alleged killers.

Soeun had been well-liked in his community and had taken a very active role in his local pagoda, said a friend who asked not to be identified. According to the friend, the killing had less to do with party affiliation, and more to do with family members seeking to inherit Soeun’s money.

However, Nuth Rumduol, a CNRP lawmaker in Kampong Speu province, remained unconvinced.

“I still believe this murder case is politically motivated,” he said. “I have asked the local villagers. They said that after the election, [Soeun] was so proud of winning, and always said, ‘I guess that we will win; now we really win.’ His comments in the village caused the other party to be unhappy with him.”

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