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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Opposition activist 'accidentally' shot, killed by policeman

Opposition activist 'accidentally' shot, killed by policeman

Opposition activist 'accidentally' shot, killed by policeman

SRP activist Ven Veth was killed by a police officer Wednesday, with family of the victim treating the circumstances as suspicious.

AN activist with the opposition Sam Rainsy Party was shot dead by a policeman on Wednesday in Kampong Cham province. But the victim's family and the police dispute the circumstances surrounding his death.

The victim, Ven Veth, who was 45, was killed by In Pheang, a policeman in Battalion 617, using an AK-47. The incident took place in Por Phlam village, Cham commune, in Memot district.

Ven Veth's father-in-law, Bin Bao, said he witnessed the killing Wednesday afternoon. He told the Post Thursday that In Pheang had arrived at the victim's house on a motorbike and called for Ven Veth to come out of his house. In Pheang asked Ven Veth whether Ven Veth knew him, and when he said he did, in Pheang immediately shot him, he said.

"He shot him at a distance of just one metre from me," Bin Bao said. "And then I was shaking with fear. There was no conflict before this."

However the commune police chief, Bien Pom, disputed Bin Bao's account, adding that the incident was not related to politics or the upcoming polls for district and provincial councils. He said his investigation showed that Ven Veth was drunk at the time and had brandished a hoe at In Pheang when he crossed in front of his house. He claimed that In Pheang warned Ven Veth not to shake the hoe in case it hit him, but Ven Veth ignored that.

Bien Pom said that In Pheang had gone on the run.

The SRP commune chief in Cham, Prak Vanny, said the victim had been drunk at the time but rejected the police's version of events, and said Bin Bao's account was correct: that the killer had asked the victim if he knew him, and after the victim said he did, he was shot.

The party's MP for Kampong Cham province, Mao Monyvann, said Wednesday the incident was politically related and was a way of intimidating the opposition ahead of the upcoming poll.

"I notice that when elections are looming, intimidation always occurs," Mao Monyvann said. "The killer is well-known and the authorities must arrest him and punish him."

The district governor for Memot, Chek Sa An, said that Ven Veth was drunk and started to pull down the roof of his house. When the police went to intervene, Ven Veth was accidentally shot in the left thigh.



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