CAMBODIAN authorities have accepted the US Embassy’s offer to provide
Federal Bureau of Investigation assistance for the probe into the July
11 drive-by shooting of a journalist and his son near Phnom Penh’s
Khim Sambo, 47, regularly contributed articles to the
opposition-aligned newspaper, Moneaksekar Khmer, despite remaining
politically independent himself. His assassination was condemned by
journalism and rights advocates, and was held up by some as an example
of the dangers faced by government critics in Cambodia.
Spokesmen for both the US Embassy and the Cambodian government have
welcomed the impending cooperation, although the Cambodians for weeks
appeared reluctant to accept the help.
Several senior security officials, speaking to the Post, made clear
they did not want the FBI involved in a Cambodian investigation.
“We have enough ability to handle this on our own,” one police officer said on condition of anonymity.
But government spokesman Khieu Kanharith maintained that the FBI’s offer had always been under consideration.
“We never rejected the assistance. It is good to collaborate with the
FBI, so when we find the killers, the opposition party will not claim
they are fake.”
Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak and other security officials could not be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, the victims’ family welcomed the collaboration.
“We are still living in doubt over my brother’s assassination,” said
Khem Laurent. “If the killers are arrested, we will know what was
behind the murders.”