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Police investigating hotel fall as suicide

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Sokha Hotel staff clean the pavement where the body of Charles Frederick Harris was found yesterday morning. Charles Parkinson

Police investigating hotel fall as suicide

A US national fell to his death from the roof of Phnom Penh’s Sokha Hotel yesterday, with authorities saying they believe it was a suicide.

Charles Frederick Harris, 66, plunged from the terrace of the Tonle Sap Bar on the 20th floor at about 10am.

The Sokha Hotel is located in Chroy Changvar district, directly across the Tonle Bassac River from the Royal Palace.

Police said security camera footage provided by the hotel showed Harris leaping to his death. The motive for his apparent suicide remains unknown.

“According to the video clip, he jumped from the hotel roof and landed in the car park below,” said Chroy Changvar district police chief Siem Sovathavuth.

Sovathavuth said the US Embassy had overseen the removal of the body and is looking into the circumstances of the death, after embassy officials viewed the security camera footage.

National Police forensics chief Lun Moniroth yesterday said Harris had checked into the hotel on Saturday and was staying on the seventh floor.

Yesterday afternoon, staff at the hotel said they knew nothing about the incident. The forensic examination had been wrapped up by 2:30pm, with hotel staff seen scrubbing the location where Harris’ body had been found.

The rooftop houses an indoor restaurant and two terrace bars, with barriers about 1.5 metres high surrounding the terraces.

Hotel management were unavailable for comment yesterday.

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