Peace Cafe owner David Finch with his son, Sokheng, and late wife, Jeun Sokha.
A British expatriate, David Finch, was arrested by military police in early August
while he was in a metal workshop watching two decommissioned assault rifles being
cut up to create windchimes.
"The whole thing was a complete misunderstanding," said Finch, the owner
of Sokha's Peace Cafe in Phnom Penh, after his release along with the burnt AK-47s.
He explained that the rifles were being made into an anti-weapons display for his
The guns, along with 5,500 others, were recently decommissioned by EUASAC, an EU
body that assists with destroying light weapons in Cambodia, in a 'flames of peace'
gun burning ceremony in Kampong Cham.
Finch was given the guns by EUASAC because of his close involvement with the Working
Group for Weapons Reduction (WGWR), for which he raises donations and distributes
Meanwhile, Sok Sethamony, the judge investigating the killing of Finch's wife earlier
this year, told the Post that he had completed his four month investigation. He added
that he was ready to hand the brief to Nop Sophon, deputy prosecutor of Phnom Penh's
Municipal Court, when Sophon returned from Thailand.
Two suspects arrested shortly after the killing and now in Prey Sar prison, have
had preliminary charges laid against them, the most serious of which is voluntary
Finch's wife, Jeun Sokha, was killed by a grenade fragment earlier this year, the
innocent victim of an argument at a karaoke bar next to their original Peace Cafe
near Boeng Kak Lake. Since then Finch has focused on bringing his wife's killers
"I want my wife's death to leave a legacy, which is to establish legal principles,"
Finch said. "Firstly, and simply, that people can't throw handgrenades in the
street, and secondly to challenge the notions of cultural violence and impunity within
WGWR lobbies the government to regulate the trade and use of weapons and advocates
the destruction of illegal weapons. It also runs programs to educate and change the
culture of using weapons as a solution to solving problems.
Heang Path, monitoring and information project officer with WGWR, said that cultural
violence was relatively new to Cambodian society and had its origins in the Khmer
Rouge regime. The years of civil war that followed had merely reinforced this.
"In Pol Pot's time we were children and trained to kill," said Path. "Children's
minds were shaped with violence."
He added that Cambodian people of all ages had experienced killings, threats and
abuses during the war.
"They have become used to killing and do not recognize it as something special.
Buddhist beliefs that killing is a sin have been overpowered by 30 years of war."
The British Embassy said it was monitoring the case. Finch and his son, 21-month-old
Sokheng, are British nationals.