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Fifth suspect arrested in connection with foiled bomb plot

Fifth suspect arrested in connection with foiled bomb plot

Prosecutor declines to name the most recent suspect charged with involvement in the plot that appeared to target the Defence Ministry.

PROSECUTOR Hing Bunchea said Sunday that a fifth man had been arrested in connection with a foiled bomb plot that appeared to target the Defence Ministry and the state-run television station TV3.

"I already charged the fifth man on January 31, on the same charges as the previous four men," Hing Bunchea told the Post, though he declined to name the suspect.

When the arrest of the first four suspects was announced January 12, Hing Bunchea said they had been charged under Cambodia's anti-terrorism law with delivering, placing, discharging or detonating an explosive or lethal device in a public place, as well as recruiting and training terrorists.

Two devices were found on January 2, one outside the Ministry of Defence and one outside TV3. The bombs did not contain shrapnel and were safely disposed of by the Cambodia Mine Aáction Centre.

All five are suspected by authorities to be part of the Khmer National Unity Front, which has three tiger heads as its symbol. The group is colloquially known as the Tiger Head gang. The five face up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

The other detainees

Included among the original suspects are Reach Samnang, Mondulkiri province's former deputy police chief, and a suspect identified as Lek Bunnhean.

The other two suspects are Phy Savong and Som Ek, the alleged plot mastermind. Speaking at a press conference January 10, Sok Phal, deputy director general of the National Police, said Som Ek had confessed to his involvement in both the January 2 plot as well as a foiled attempt to bomb the Cambodian-Vietnamese Friendship Monument in July  2007.  He said Som Ek, who has dual Thai-Cambodian citizenship, was formerly involved in the Khmer People's National Liberation Front.

Reached on Sunday, Sok Phal referred questions about the fifth arrest to Keat Chantharith, a spokesman for the National Police, who said he had not received any information about it.


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