Two years after the murder of entertainer and cultural icon Piseth Pelika,
police report no leads or suspects in the case.
Slain Cambodian icon Piseth Pelika
Lao Soun Pa, Director of
the Criminal Department of the Ministry of Interior, told the Post on July 2
that police have no idea who gunned down Pelika in broad daylight near O'Russey
Market on July 6, 1999. Pelika, 34, died in surgery at Calmette Hospital seven
"We are continuing our investigation," Soun Pa said. "It is
normal that in the cases of murder the cases remain open and under
Soun Pa was unable to say how many officers were working
on the case and what direction the investigation was taking two years after the
Pelika's funeral was attended by tens of thousands of mourning
fans, many of whom alleged official links to her murder.
theories were fanned in October, 1999 when the French magazine L'Express
published extracts purportedly from Pelika's personal diary in which she alleged
a sexual relationship with Prime Minister Hun Sen and fears that Bun Rany, the
Prime Minister's wife, was planning to kill her. The authenticity of the diary
was later confirmed by handwriting and fingerprint experts.
published the full document later that month.
Pelika's diary stated her
affair with Hun Sen began in August 1998 and continued until early 1999 when Hun
Sen ended the relationship at Bun Rany's insistence. The diary's May 10, 1999
entry notes a warning Pelika received from National Police Director Hok Lundy
that she had been targeted by Bun Rany. Two months later Pelika was
After publication of diary extracts in L'Express, Hun Sen advisor
Om Yen Tieng announced that Bun Rany would seek to clear her name in courts in
Paris and Phnom Penh - something that she has so far made no move to do.
"This is not my responsibility, ask a lawyer" Yen Tieng responded to Post
enquiries regarding the status of Bun Rany's threatened lawsuit.
likewise had no comment on the pro-gress of Pelika's murder
Pelika's sister Sao Vina, whose daughter Saren Sereiman
was wounded in the shooting, told the Post in a phone interview from France that
she was convinced Bun Rany was responsible for Pelika's murder. Vina and her
family relocated to France shortly after Pelika's funeral due to concerns for
their personal safety.
"We truly believe that [Pelika's murder] was
related to [her affair] with Hun Sen," Vina said. "We think that the murderers
were ordered by Bun Rany... Hun Sen's wife was behind the murderers."
Galabru, President of the human rights organization Licadho, described the lack
of progress in the Pelika murder case as yet another example of the problem of
impunity in Cambodia.
"It's very frustrating for us to see that the
perpetrators of the Piseth Pelika murder and of acid attacks and the rape of
children are not brought to justice," Galabru said. "We really hope that the
government will act on these matters."