Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hot camera leads police to murderers



Hot camera leads police to murderers

Hot camera leads police to murderers

SIEM REAP - One of the alleged killers of American tourist Susan Hadden in a car

ambush near the Banteay Srei temple wandered into the district 12 days later

wanting to sell a camera taken in the raid.

A policeman spotted the

camera and followed the man back to his jungle home about 9km from the temple,

according to Siem Reap governor Ton Chay.

Police reinforcements were

called and surrounded the area, where they found 10 people alleged to have been

responsible for the ambush.

Also found were six rifles and a

rocket-launcher, along with the camera and a watch stolen in the

robbery.

The 10, including two women, are being held in Siem Reap

prison.

Police said the 10 were former KR guerrillas or their relatives,

who had earlier left the rebel group but not surrendered themselves to

government authorities.

Mrs Hadden, 50, was killed and her husband

William Hadden seriously wounded when they were attacked while on way to Banteay

Srei temple on Sunday Jan 15.

A senior provincial policeman, who asked

not to be named, said the couple were in a car traveling behind five other

vehicles, including a truck, police car and motorcycle, about 9am.

As the

car was about 8km from the temple, it came under fire from a group of armed

people.

The policeman said the gang's leader, Kang Chheun, fired a B40

rocket at the car but missed it. A second gunman, Van Kha, fired a second rocket

which exploded when it hit the ground nearby.

The car's driver sped up,

trying to flee, but a volley of bullets hit the car, shooting out its

tyres.

The vehicles ahead of the car continued along the road, their

drivers either fleeing or unaware of the trouble behind.

Police allege

Mrs Hadden was shot in the chest and head in the initial attack and, when the

car stopped, gunman Pre Phan ran up and fired more bullets into her.

Also

killed was the tourists' guide, a Mr Vuthea.

William Hadden was at some

stage shot or suffered shrapnel wounds in the right shoulder and hand. He played

dead while the attackers rifled through the couple's possessions, the policeman

said.

Only the driver and a policeman who were in the car

escaped.

The Post's source rejected any suggestion that the policeman,

who he said had been picked up as a hitchhiker, was involved in the

attack.

He said the policeman had fired back at the attackers, hitting

one in the leg, before running from the scene.

Mr Hadden was flown to

Phnom Penh and later evacuated for medical treatment to Singapore.

Mrs

Hadden's body was later sent to Phnom Penh, where she was cremated the following

day in accordance with her husband's wishes.

A Ministry of Information

spokesman, Seang Lapress, quoted Mr Hadden as later saying: "I would not blame

the authorities for the incident. Anyone can die anywhere."

The Haddens

were traveling in Cambodia on a tour organized by Diethelm Travel but their

Banteay Srei journey was privately arranged. Siem Reap police arranged visits

regularly to the temple before the incident.

On Jan 16 the Ministry of

Tourism affirmed that the main Angkor Wat temple complex was safe for

foreigners, but banned trips to Banteay Srei "until further

notice".

Governor Tuon Chay, however, now claims the area is perfectly

safe, with some 300 policemen guarding the road to Banteay Srei.

"You can

go there alone whenever you want - even at night," he told the Post on Feb

4.

Tuon Chay had made a similar statement just a week before the attack

on the Haddens' car.

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