POLICE have identified suspects alleged to have tossed a grenade into a gambling
hall in Kampot, killing six and wounding 31 people, but a political dispute might
occur if they are arrested, according to the province's first deputy governor.
"We have found the suspects but we cannot arrest them. They are in a unit in
one side of another political party," said Tit Ream (CPP). He declined to name
The Kampot police chief, Seng Sokun, also a CPP member, confirmed that he had sent
a "document" about the suspects to the local court. He would not give further
details, or say whether the suspects would be arrested.
"There are some people getting involved with the story...they are deeply involved,"
said the police chief. "I cannot say now, it is secret."
Tit Ream said that "someone is behind" the suspects, and that provincial
authorities have to work steadily and carefully in order to solve the problem. Authorities
were keen to avoid accusations of political motivations in any arrests that might
be made, he said.
The grenade exploded in a gambling establishment where a crowd of people were playing
the game "Yuki" Feb 9.
Police chief Sokun said he believed the incident happened because of a dispute over
the result of a game of Yuki, and "is not related to any other thing".
But he confirmed that there had also been an argument between the owner of the gambling
hall and the owner of another gaming establishment nearby. The second establishment
had been almost empty, while the first one was full.
The owners of the two halls apparently exchanged "play words", as Sokun
put it, and the one whose hall was empty became angry. The explosion happened soon
A human rights worker said it was rumored that two senior Funcinpec officers dressed
in camouflage approached a gambling table in the hall and threw a grenade. But he
said that he did not believe those reports.
The incident seems to strike a blow against some provincial officials who have received
bribes from the gambling den owner, creating a sense of anarchy in the town, the
rights worker claimed. "How can these people operate their games in the center
of town if they have not received permission from any provincial authority?"
Uk Kim Sith, prosecutor of Kampot provincial court, said he was aware of the grenade
attack but had not received any documents from the police. The court could do nothing
with the case unless the police, or the families of the deceased, made a complaint
to the court, he said.