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Police create group to probe Vichea murder

People light incense sticks around a portrait of unionist Chea Vichea, who was shot dead at a newsstand in 2004.
People light incense sticks around a portrait of unionist Chea Vichea, who was shot dead at a newsstand in 2004. Sovan Philong

Police create group to probe Vichea murder

The National Police created a new investigative working group last week to look into the unresolved murder of popular union leader Chea Vichea and two colleagues, nearly two years after a similar task force was created.

National Police chief Neth Savoeun formed an 11-member working group on March 27 to collect and investigate evidence and documents pertaining to the January 2004 daylight murder of Vichea, the Free Trade Union leader, and factory presidents Ros Sovannareth and Hy Vuthy, shot dead in May 2004 and February 2007, respectively.

The group features prominent police officials like Chhoun Sovann, the Phnom Penh Municipal Police commissioner, and Sok Khemarin, the head of penal crimes. “The investigative working group has the duty to investigate the killing[s] . . . and to arrest and take legal action against the murderers, accomplices and other involved persons,” the directive reads.

The diktat comes nearly two years after Prime Minister Hun Sen created a national inter-ministerial task force to look into the same murders, which has yet to yield any results, and after more than a decade of outrage that the popular Vichea’s murder remains unsolved.

Labour advocate Moeun Tola yesterday said that he expected the new working group to also yield little.

“Year after year you keep making these committees,” he said. “It is just a show.”

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