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Ex-official tried in grenade case

A member of the Child Protection Unit gathers evidence at the site of a grenade attack in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district last year after a child was killed.
A member of the Child Protection Unit gathers evidence at the site of a grenade attack in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district last year after a child was killed. Heng Chivoan

Ex-official tried in grenade case

The former chief of Kouk Roka commune and three others were tried by Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday in connection with a grenade attack that killed an 11-year-old boy and injured five others.

On the evening of October 9, two men on a motorbike threw a grenade at a family eating dinner on the patio of a grocery store in Sen Sok district.

While the ensuing blast missed its target, Sorn Sin, 56, was hit by shrapnel from the grenade that killed his son.

Phy Nop, 46, former chief of Kouk Roka commune, was charged with planning the premeditated murder of Sin, a political rival with whom Nop was involved in a land dispute; three others were charged with conspiracy.

At the trial yesterday, Nop confessed to plotting the murder and hiring hitmen.

“I wanted to kill him because I got very angry with him . . . He had accused me of taking money to buy votes from the citizens . . . and of bribing the Phnom Penh Municipal Election Commission,” he told the court.

“Besides this, he had a plot to kill me, too,” he added.

Also on trial yesterday were Pov Bunthoeun, 34, former president of the local council, the Andoung 6 Association, who worked under Nop and was accused of hiring the killers.

Noun Samrith, also known as Mab, 28, was hired as a hitman, alongside Eng Dalin, 28, who drove the motorbike.

Samrith told the court he was hired for $5,000, but was only paid half for missing his target.

“I accepted this work because I was poor and I needed money to support my family,” Samrith said, adding Bunthoeun had hired him and taught him how to use the grenade.

Bunthoeun also admitted to his role in the crime and said he had also shown Samrith where Sin lived.

“I received an order from Phy Nob to kill Sorn Sin,” he said, explaining the plan was hatched in early 2014 and he had been promised $10,000 by Nob.

At the trial yesterday, Sin was also present and addressed Nop’s accusations, saying he had no intention of killing the former commune chief.

Their issues, he said, stemmed from a land dispute, dating back to 2003, in which Nop resold a $97,000 plot of land, that had already been purchased by Sin, to a Korean businessman.

The victims are seeking $1,050,000 in compensation from Nob, said defence lawyer Ly Kimlun.

A verdict is expected to be handed down on July 30.


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