Two months after the shooting of a pro-Funcinpec journalist and popular Cambodian
singer, suspects have been identified in both cases but no arrests have been made,
Chuor Chetharith, a reporter at Ta Prohm radio, was shot dead on the morning of October
18 in front of his office. Three days later, singer Touch Srey Nich and her mother
were gunned down by several unidentified assailants as they left a shop on Monireth
Boulevard. Srey Nich, though gravely injured, survives, but her mother died.
A spate of other killings, apparently unrelated, also made October and November exceptionally
bloody months for Phnom Penh.
Local human rights organizations said they believe not enough is being done to make
arrests for those crimes.
"Everybody knows what has happened, but the solution is not progressing"
said Thun Saray, president of a local human rights NGO, ADHOC. "It is very complicated
because the authorities have no political will to solve the problem."
But the Ministry of Interior maintains that they are diligently investigating the
cases. Four suspects have already been identified in the attack on Srey Nich and
her mother and another was announced in the killing of Chetharith.
"The investigation is still progressing," said Poly Da, chief of the investigation
committee at the Ministry of Interior. "We have identified some of the suspects;
we will arrest them soon."
Pictures of the suspects have been released to the public in the hope that they will
be seen and turned over to police.
Police have arrested several suspects in another killing that shocked the capital
on October 27 involving the sons of some of Phnom Penh's most influential families.
On November 25, police arrested Nhim Sophea, 22, reportedly a nephew of Prime Minister
Hun Sen, and his brother Nhim Chantana, also known as Nhim Pov or Hun Pov, for the
shooting of bystanders on Sihanouk Boulevard after a traffic accident. The incident
left three dead and four injured.
Sophea is being detained in Prey Sar prison for traffic infractions and premeditated
murder, according to Hing Thirith, the investigating judge in the case.
He said that Sophea's brother, Chantana, was released on bail after questioning by
police. A third suspect, Than Chamroeun, who was arrested at the crime scene, has
also been released on bail. Thirith said Chamroeun was not found to be involved in
Recently, the police have been criticized for their handling of a reported shooting
at a Ta Prohm radio technician on November 28.
Keo Sopheak, 35, claimed to have survived an attempted shooting in front of Preah
Sihanouk hospital in the early morning hours.
However, deputy chief of police Heng Pov denied that the event took place
"It is not true. I went to inspect the place and found nothing," he said.
Witnesses questioned by the Post did not report any incidents of gunfire.
But Noranarith Anandayath, director general of Ta Prohm Radio, said the police had
rushed their inquiry and he stood by his employee's claim.
"The police conducted the investigation too quickly," he said. "They
just asked a few people a few questions and now say nothing happened."