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New warrant as hunt on for Tiger Head boss

Som Ek, convicted of masterminding a failed bomb plot, is escorted into Phnom Penh Municipal Court in 2014.
Som Ek, convicted of masterminding a failed bomb plot, is escorted into Phnom Penh Municipal Court in 2014. Hong Menea

New warrant as hunt on for Tiger Head boss

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court has released a warrant for the re-arrest of Som Ek, who was imprisoned for planting a bomb at the Ministry of Defence in 2009 but escaped while hospitalised over the weekend.

Ek, the leader of the Tiger Head Movement, which is considered a terrorist organisation by the government, fled the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital on Saturday, with authorities saying the guards supervising him fell asleep after eating food laced with drugs.

An arrest warrant was issued on Monday, noting that Ek, who was sentenced to 28 years in prison for the 2009 attack and another 18 years for a separate plan to bomb the Cambodian-Vietnamese Friendship Monument in 2007, had served less than eight years.

“I, Souer Vanny, a Phnom Penh municipal deputy prosecutor, order all the public armed forces to seek and arrest Som Ek, 44, to serve his sentence according to the power of the criminal verdict,” the warrant says.

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said police were now searching for Ek, who previously maintained residence in Thailand. “We are taking actions to look for him. We will work hard to get him,” he said.

Sam Serey, leader of the Khmer National Liberation Front, which is also considered a terrorist organisation by the government and an outgrowth of the Tiger Head Movement, said by telephone from Denmark he had not heard from Ek.

“We used to be in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces together, but I have not heard from him since he was sent to prison,” Serey said.

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