Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Man commits suicide by fire

Man commits suicide by fire

Man commits suicide by fire

Police have refused to discuss missing documents and the motivation of a man who

set himself alight near Prime Minister Hun Sen's residence in Phnom Penh.

Just before noon on November 17, the man knelt in front of a small shrine, praying

for about five minutes before dousing himself with petrol and setting himself on

fire, said witnesses.

He was taken to Calmette Hospital and spoke with difficulty to a medical team sent

by human rights group Licadho, saying "please let me go, let me die."

Police initially identified the man as Roeun from Prey Veng, but other sources say

his name was Ouk Vorn, a retired 65-year old motorcycle and bicycle mechanic from

Teuk La-ak II commune in Phnom Penh's Toul Kork district.

Motives for the suicide remain unclear and police refused to give further information

about a note or plastic bag of papers that police took from the scene, according

to different witnesses.

Tal Harhas, an Israeli tourist who was riding his bicycle past as the man was engulfed

by flames, said he saw another man take a note from the shrine and show it to a uniformed

policeman.

But police were saying little about the event, referring comment to police chiefs

who were equally tight-lipped.

"If you want to know clearly, you can ask the governor of Phnom Penh,"

said Heng Pov, Phnom Penh municipal police chief.

Pro-Cambodian People's Party newspaper Chakraval published an afternoon edition on

November 18 with a photograph and story about the man, saying he was protesting about

fighting amongst Funcinpec leaders. Other sources claimed he had mental problems.

Unconfirmed sources say the man was born in Ba Phnom district in Prey Veng and worked

as an ambulance driver in Phnom Penh during the 1950s and 1960s before being sent

back to his homeland during the Khmer Rouge reign.

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