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Sixth man arrested in bomb plot

Sixth man arrested in bomb plot

Authorities say they're still on 'hunt' for more Tiger Heads

THE brother of the alleged mastermind behind the foiled bomb plot against state-owned facilities in Phnom Penh in January was arrested last Tuesday as a conspirator, authorities said.

Chea Kimyan, the brother of Som Ek, who has been incarcerated since January 12 along with four other suspects reputed to be in the so-called "Tiger Head" paramilitary group, was arrested by police on the same charges in connection with the bombs and on suspicion of recruiting and training terrorists, said Hing Bunchea, a prosecutor with the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

"He is now being detained temporarily for further investigation," he said.

Police say Som Ek has confessed to organising both the most recent bombing attempt as well as a plot to blow up the Cambodian-Vietnamese Friendship Monument in July 2007.

Military Police Chief Sao Sokha said Chea Kimyan had been in the hands of court investigators since Friday but would not comment on whether he had denied the charges.

A military policeman who asked not to be named said Chea Kimyan was arrested in Choam Chao commune in Phnom Penh's Dangkor district.

Chan Saveth, a legal counselor with local rights group Adhoc, said he was waiting for Chea Kimyan's family to contact him for consultation.

"We welcome the police's effort to arrest more suspects in the bomb plot in order to fight crime, but we are still doubtful about the charges until there is convincing evidence," he said. He said he had asked the court to move forward with hearings for all the suspects as soon as possible to clarify whether the cases against them were valid.

Rights groups had previously called for the release of more details surrounding the arrest, interrogation and trial of the suspects already detained. Chan Saveth said two of the men - Reach Samnang and Lek Bunnhean - have still been denied contact with lawyers or their families.

National Police spokesman Keat Chantharith declined to give details on the number of additional suspects identified by authorities, but said, "We are still investigating more people and will hunt for them to the end".

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