Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - FUNCINPEC Member Killed in Kom. Cham

FUNCINPEC Member Killed in Kom. Cham

FUNCINPEC Member Killed in Kom. Cham

It was Sunday night and FUNCINPEC organizer Nam Saroeun took a break from his busy

weeks of observing voter registration to watch a video in his favorite cafe. Pressure

was building up already in Kroch Chhmar district in Kompong Cham province.

Saroeun and three other FUNCINPEC members had already been threatened by State of

Cambodia (SOC) police in early December and that morning two policemen had ridden

by the FUNCINPEC office yelling "you shall die." The 34-year-old tobacco

farmer decided to make an early evening of it to get home to his wife and four kids.

He lay down on his mat with his four-year-old son and fell asleep.

By 11 p.m., Nam Saroeun was dead, shot through the back with three rounds from an

AK-47 fired from underneath his house by unknown assassins. None of the seven other

people asleep in the house at the time, including four young children, saw the assailants.

Saroeun's wife, 35-year-old Sok San, said she heard what sounded like three men run

from under their house and fire two more shots. Dogs barked.

FUNCINPEC leaders in Kroch Chhmar were quick to blame the murder on SOC gunmen and

called on UNTAC to protect party members in the province. They pointed to earlier

threats on party members and the killing of over 20 other FUNCINPEC officials around

the country in pre-election violence.

Kompong Cham province first Vice Governor Khek Sam Onn said that he knew of a murder

in Kroch Chhmar that day but that he was unaware that the victim was a political

party member. He said that local police were investigating. He went on to charge

that Kroch Chhmar FUNCINPEC leader Son Savan "was a Khmer Rouge com-mander...she

doesn't stay in her office...we wonder about her secret activities."

UNTAC CivPol officials in the district confirmed FUNCINPEC had filed charges of intimidation

on Dec. 6 but did not name party members who were allegedly threatened. Since there

were no immediate witnesses, CivPol officials declined to characterize the killing

as 'political'. "FUNCIPEC exaggerates these things to get more votes in the

election," said one CivPol official.

UNTAC provincial election officer Theo Noel condemned the killing and said that if

it were proven to be a political assassination, he might call for UNTAC's newly appointed

special prosecutor to take over the case.

MOST VIEWED

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • Chinese may be first in tourism revival: PM

    Cambodia's tourism industry is gearing up to roll out the red carpet for Chinese travellers after Prime Minister Hun Sen on September 17 indicated that the Kingdom could soon throw open its doors to international holidaymakers vaccinated against Covid-19 – starting with guests from China. Cambodia Chinese

  • Four-pillar approach in reopening of tourism: PM

    Cambodia is drawing up a four-strategy approach to promptly restore domestic and international tourism activity and put the industry on a transition pathway to a sustainable and inclusive model that is resistant to future crises, according to Prime Minister Hun Sen. The prime minister made

  • Airline says ready for green light to reopen international tourism

    Sky Angkor Airline Co Ltd on September 21 said it is ready to transport South Korean and Chinese tourists to the Kingdom once the Cambodian government makes good on plans to reopen its borders to vaccinated travellers. The Siem Reap-based airline made the remark during a

  • Tourism concerns laid bare

    To ensure the success of plans to reopen the tourism market for international visitors, Cambodia must pay utmost attention to two primary determinants – the ongoing paradigm shift in domestic tourism services towards the ‘new normal’, and the factors influencing choices of destinations among foreign holidaymakers.

  • Cambodian bride ‘badly treated, held captive’ by Chinese man seeks help

    A Cambodian woman who travelled to China to marry a Chinese man there was “badly treated” by her husband’s family and then had to be rescued and will be returned to Cambodia to ensure her safety. The rescue operation came about after the 25-year-old