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Ratanakkiri duo charged in death of reporter

Ratanakkiri duo charged in death of reporter

A Ratanakkiri provincial court has charged a married couple with premeditated murder in the grisly killing of Vorakchun Khmer newspaper reporter Hang Serei Oudom, whose body was found axed to death in the back of a car last week.

The suspects, An Bunheng and his wife, Sim Vy, own a karaoke bar in Banlung town, where the victim lived. The police have previously said that a number used to call Oudom could belong to Bunheng.

They were arrested on Thursday at the provincial military police headquarters. Several others, including the son of the provincial military police chief, were also detained for questioning but released later.

Provincial deputy police chief Phen Dina said that on Saturday morning, the couple were sent to court for questioning and the provincial prosecutor charged and detained them.

Dina said the police were still investigating and more people were probably involved.

“We keep co-operating with the court to arrest other suspects in this case,” he said.

Oudom disappeared last Sunday after leaving his house at night for a meeting.

During his career, he had written articles about illegal logging in Ratanakkiri, which is infamous for its rampant trading in black-market timber.

Oudom’s corpse was discovered several days later in the trunk of a 1996 Toyota Camry in O’Chum district.

Pen Bunna, provincial coordinator for the human right group Adhoc, said yesterday that he welcomed the charges, but is convinced that more arrests should be made.

“It is the first success of the police officials, but the authorities have to investigate to arrest the accomplices who stay behind the murder, because it could not happen with only two suspects,” he said.

Chea Sopheak, provincial deputy prosecutor, could not be reach for comment yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kim Yuthana at [email protected]

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