Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Killing may be linked to Hadden case




Killing may be linked to Hadden case

Killing may be linked to Hadden case

S IEM REAP-There has been a report of a third murder in the wake of the Jan 15

killing of American tourist Susan Hadden and her guide Hom Vuthea in Banteay

Srey.

Kdang Tean, 33 - one of the 10 arrested for the killings along with

her KR defector husband-was recently told in prison by a visiting friend that

her house had been mined one night in February, and that one of her five

children had tripped one of the mines the next morning and been

killed.

Tean told a human rights investigator from Adhoc that the man who

booby-trapped her house was a Khmer Rouge commander called Rin. Rin has been

fingered by Tean as being involved in the Jan 15 ambush.

The rights

investigator said Tean was very upset over the death of her child and would

never return to the commune because she was afraid the KR would kill her and her

family.

Tean said Rin had given the 10-strong KR group she was with the

Haddens' camera-an important piece of evidence-to sell and that he was angry the

group later defected.

The alleged killing of Tean's child has neither

been confirmed nor investigated yet.

The group of ten-aged between 50

and 19 and including married couples-were arrested on Jan 25. Tean claims they

willingly defected and knew nothing of the killings; police say their commune

had been surrounded and they had no choice but to give themselves up.

The

chief judge if Siem Reap court confirmed to the Post that six of the 10

suspects, including Tean, were innocent and would probably be released soon.

Four were guilty of Hadden and Vuthea's murders, he said.

The human

rights investigation has been hampered because the village of Komprum where the

10 suspects were captures is only nominally under government control. Often,

according to local sources, KR soldiers will arrive-"even if its only two or

three"-and the village will be deemed unsafe.

Potentially crucial

witnesses-such as the commune chief, who may have information on the

circumstances leading to the group's defection, and neighbors - have not been

interviewed.

Tean is the only suspect who has been interviewed in prison

by Adhoc. Rights organizations are trying to get a public defender to

investigate as soon as possible.

The police investigation headed by penal

police chief Colonel Ou Em is finished.

Ou Em told the Post: "This case

seems very clear... there is nothing more for us to do. We have collected our

evidence and written our report to the court."

Siem Reap chief judge Plan

Chhlam said: "The investigation is finished and now we are waiting word from the

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through the US Embassy, whether the victim (Susan

Hadden's husband William) will ask for money from the criminals who killed his

wife, wounded him and stole his property."

"If the victim does not ask

for compensation there will still be a trial, but the trial will just be

punishment for the crime only, not for compensation," Chhlam said.

Chhlam

said that of the 10 suspects now being held, "Four committed the crime, and six

are innocent."

"Four have already confessed, and among those four two

have also confessed to an earlier crime of robbing the Takeo market," the chief

judge said.

"Among the six, two ladies will be released soon... another

one is just KR militia and he may be released soon. The other three are former

Khmer Rouge soldiers. This is now after the amnesty, I don't know if they will

be released or not," Chhlam said. "We are waiting word from the Ministry of

Justice on this."

The Haddens left Siem Reap to visit Banteay Srey temple

on Jan 15, with two policemen and their guide, Vuthea. They were the last of a

five car convoy.

A KR ambush crippled the car about eight kilometers from

the temple. The two policemen escaped into the jungle nearby after exchanging

gunfire with the attackers, according to police.

Neither Adhoc nor the

Post have been able to interview the two policemen, one of whom was called Chey

Sa Em. However, Ou Em said he had taken their statements. Authorities have

repeatedly said that there was no police or military complicity in the

crime.

Ou Em said that, according to his investigations, "if the two

Americans agreed with the policemen and ran out of the car, they might have been

safe."

"They didn't do that, they might not have thought the car was

damaged and (William) Hadden tried to drive it away, but the front wheel was

broken."

Police say that Susan Hadden and Vuthea were shot dead in the

car-either in the initial attack or when Mr Hadden tried driving the car away -

while a badly wounded Hadden either played dead or was unconscious at the

wheel.

Their pockets were emptied after the attack, Ou Em

said.

Chhlam said that the KR policy was to capture American citizens

"without killing them, it was a big mistake they were killed... if they captured

them they were worth 4,000 bath each."

According to Adhoc's statement

from Tean, on Jan 25 she and another wife of a KR soldier visited their husbands

in the jungle to persuade them to defect. The two couples and another six KR

defectors made their way back to Komprum village and met Rin on the

way.

Tean says Rin gave them a Western-style camera to sell. Chhlam said

that it had been made known around outlying villages that government authorities

would buy the camera for a "high price."

Tean says they gave themselves

up willingly as defectors to the commune chief, and that they knew nothing about

the murders.

Chhlam and Ou Em however said that the group were in the

village when it was surrounded by provincial militia looking for the murderers,

and that the group had no choice but to give themselves up as defectors. Chhlam

said that it was true that Tean had received the camera from Rin.

Rin,

and possibly some other KR soldiers, could also be culpable "but they didn't

defect," he said.

"It sounds unbelievable but its true. They are

hardliners. They were given an order (to capture the tourists) but they were not

successful, therefore they would likely be killed. The four men had no choice

but to defect," Chhlam said.

Those found guilty of the murders would face

between eight and 20 years in prison; the jail terms for robbery are between

three and five years.

MOST VIEWED

  • School reopening to be postponed until November

    Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Hun Sen requesting a delay of school reopening across the Kingdom until November, when the new academic year begins. In his letter, Chuon Naron said the postponement is warranted to avoid the new

  • Foreigners in Kingdom must now register in FPCS system

    The Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Immigration (GDI) announced that it would not grant visa extensions to foreigners staying in Cambodia if their names are not listed on the Foreigners Present in Cambodia System (FPCS) by July 1. Foreign nationals can register in the

  • Covid-19 at ‘alarming rate’, health ministry says

    The Covid-19 risk level for individual transmission is at an “alarming rate” in the Kingdom and its probability is “not low”, warned Health Ministry spokesperson Or Vandine. “Cambodia’s coronavirus scenario is classified as being at an early stage of the pandemic because of ongoing

  • Mandatory quarantine for 30,000 workers begins

    Some of the roughly 30,000 workers from factories and enterprises across the Kingdom who went on leave during Khmer New Year began their government-imposed 14-day quarantine on Monday. Speaking at a press conference while visiting workers at the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone on Monday, Ministry

  • Unemployed to get $40 per month

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has instructed enterprises, business owners and travel agencies in five provinces to prepare the proper forms for the suspension of employment contracts. This, it said, will make it easier for the ministry to transfer $40 a month to workers

  • Gov’t travel ban flouted

    While the majority of Cambodians have paid heed to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s order to stay put and not travel during the Khmer New Year – the holidays of which were also postponed – several hundred have left Phnom Penh nonetheless. They have allegedly breached provincial

  • G20 energy ministers struggle to finalise oil output cuts

    Top oil producers struggled to finalise production cuts during a virtual summit held by Group of 20 (G20) energy ministers on Friday, despite US President Donald Trump’s mediation efforts to end a standoff with Mexico. The final G20 communique appeared to gloss over simmering divisions

  • Kingdom revises travel restriction order

    The government on Friday eased the district and provincial border restrictions issued on Thursday. People are now allowed to cross districts within their provinces. Phnom Penh and Kandal province are to be treated as a single region where people are allowed to travel freely. In

  • Private schools struggling

    The Cambodian Higher Education Association has claimed that 113 private educational establishments are facing bankruptcy because of their inability to pay rent and staff salaries in light of nationwide school closures caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. It said the financial trouble started when the Ministry of

  • Khmer New Year holidays postponed

    In an effort to halt Covid-19 infections in the Kingdom, Prime Minister Hun Sen has postponed the Khmer New Year holidays scheduled from April 13 to 16. While the people will not have their usual break, nor will there be any public celebrations or gatherings at pagodas,