Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Recent murders not thought political




Recent murders not thought political

Recent murders not thought political

LAND disputes now seem to be the prime motivation for at least three recent murders

that were initially said to be political.

In the highest-profile case, two people were killed and three injured in a grenade

attack in Takeo province.

One survivor, Khieu Rama, is a longtime activist for the Son Sann Party, and the

party denounced the April 25 attack as politically motivated. A party statement noted

that the day before the attack, "the local authority forced Mr Khieu Rama to

give his thumbprint to be a member of the CPP, but Mr Khieu Rama refused to do so".

Government officials in Phnom Penh, however, have claimed that the attack was prompted

by a land dispute.

Rama admitted as much, but said that "the dispute mixes with politics,"

detailing a long-running argument over his sister's land.

The grenade was thrown not at his house but at his sister's - although he was there

at the time. Rama said that the family had begun building on the disputed land only

the day before the attack. His sister, Khieu Kei, and her husband Khieu Noun were

killed.

Takeo first deputy governor Chhim Theam said four suspects have been arrested, "but

I am not really sure they are the right people," he said.

"I'm not sure whether it was a land dispute, or over a lady, or political. But

in Takeo we have over 1,000 cases of land or lady disputes, but nobody throws grenades

against them, only against the people who are involved with politics."

Rights workers say the motive was probably the land dispute, but that a political

connection could not be ruled out entirely.

The April 20 murder of Ngoun Hoeung, a CPP activist in Kampot, was also called non-political

by rights groups. Hoeung was surrounded and shot by four men; Kampot police say they

have arrested two suspects.

CPP government officials initially claimed that Hoeun was killed for political reasons.

However, rights groups said they were puzzled by this assertion. "Every villager,

every family member, every person we spoke to said this was a land dispute,"

said one investigator.

Kampot police chief Seng Kokhong said the killing was over land, and that one of

those arrested was the village chief, who was also CPP.

Rights workers are also investigating the killing of Unh Vang, reportedly a Funcinpec

member, after he was arrested for theft in Kandal on Apr 12.

MOST VIEWED

  • Thousands attend CNRP-organised pro-democracy vigil in South Korea

    Thousands of supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on Saturday gathered in the South Korean city of Gwangju to hold a candlelight demonstration calling for the “liberation” of democracy in Cambodia. Yim Sinorn, a CNRP member in South Korea, said on

  • US Embassy: Chinese trade does not help like the West’s

    The US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Friday said relations between China and Cambodia did not create jobs or help industry when compared to the trade between the Kingdom and the US. “About 87 per cent of trade [with China] are Chinese imports, which do not

  • Vietnamese land-grabbers held

    Following a provincial court order, Ratanakkiri Military Police on April 16 arrested 12 Vietnamese nationals accused of crossing the border into Cambodia and illegally clearing forest land. The accused are now being detained at Phnom Svay prison in the province. Ratanakkiri military police commander Thav Yen told

  • Cambodia-Thailand rail reconnected after 45 years

    A railway reconnecting Cambodia and Thailand was officially inaugurated on Monday following a 45-year hiatus, with the two kingdoms’ prime ministers in attendance at the ceremony. On the occasion, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha travelled together from Thailand’s