Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ousted Takeo governor's brother questioned in suspicious death of National Assembly staffer, police say



Ousted Takeo governor's brother questioned in suspicious death of National Assembly staffer, police say

Suspects in the suspicious death of National Assembly staffer Chev Sovathana arrive at Phnom Penh Municipal Court Saturday afternoon.
Suspects in the suspicious death of National Assembly staffer Chev Sovathana arrive at Phnom Penh Municipal Court Saturday afternoon. Hong Menea

Ousted Takeo governor's brother questioned in suspicious death of National Assembly staffer, police say

Lay Narith, deputy police chief of Takeo province and brother of recently ousted governor Lay Vannak, is among a group of suspects to be questioned Saturday in connection to the suspicious death of a 36-year-old woman who worked at the National Assembly, police confirmed.

Chev Sovathana, a CPP Youth working group member and National Assembly staffer, was found hanged in her room in Takeo in January. Her death was ruled a suicide, despite her family contending there was no chair or ledge from which she could have jumped.

The death is now being investigated as a murder, and a group of suspects, including Narith, the Takeo provincial deputy police chief, was brought to Phnom Penh Municipal Court for questioning on Saturday. The number of suspects was not disclosed.

Sok Khemarin, head of the penal crime department at the Ministry of Interior, confirmed the group would be questioned. But he rejected reports published by the online Swift News outlet and elsewhere that Narith's brother Vannak, the former governor who was transferred from his post to a position at the Ministry of Interior last Monday, was among the suspects.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court spokesman Ly Sophana declined to comment, directing all questions to police.

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak on Saturday described the case as “a knot” that police investigators are working to undo. "We are reinvestigating this case because of the dissatisfaction of the family and our authorities who were also dissatisfied," he said.

Sopheak said police had questioned witnesses and the maid who lived with the deceased woman, who “gave clear information".

National Assembly spokesperson Leng Peng Long confirmed that Sovathana had been employed at the assembly and had been an active ruling party youth group member.

"She was a hardworking person," he said. "We regret her loss."

Updates to follow

A previous version of this story misspelled the name of Sok Khemarin, head of the penal crime department at the Ministry of Interior.

MOST VIEWED

  • Without shoes or a helmet, a young cyclist steals the show

    Pech Theara gripped the curved handlebars of his rusty old bike, planted his bare feet on its pedals and stormed as fast as he could towards the finish line. The odds were against him as the 13-year-old faced off against kids with nicer bikes at

  • Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway on schedule

    The construction of the more than $1.9 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway has not been delayed despite the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 26 per cent of the project completed and expected to finish in about two years, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there

  • Cambodia lauded for fight against Covid-19

    Cambodia has drawn global accolades for its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a new report finding that the Kingdom has controlled the pandemic better than any other country in Asia. Dr Takeshi Kasai, director of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Western Pacific region,