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For whom the bell tolls

For whom the bell tolls

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Grenade Attack, March 30, 1997
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t least 12 people were killed and countless more wounded when four grenades were

thrown at the Sam-rainsy-led Khmer National Party demonstration in the park opposite

the National Assembly. The grenades were hurled into the crowd of demonstrators.

A unit of armed soldiers were standing nearby, but the soldiers made no attempt to

prevent the assailants from fleeing the scene of the crime. Nearly 10 years later,

the perpetrators have yet to be apprehended and brought to justice.

Piseth Pelika, center, shot at Psar O'Russey on July 6, 1999.

Piseth Pelika, July 13, 1999 (Shot July 6)

On July 6, 1999 Piseth Pelika, a much-loved Cambodian singer, dancer and actor, was

singled out from a crowd at Phnom Penh's O'Russei Market and gunned down in broad

daylight. She suffered multiple bullet wounds to the spine, and died seven days later,

aged 34, in Calmette Hospital.

Pelika, whose successful career had seen her make over 60 film appearances, was also

a strong promoter of traditional Cambodian culture. Her work in this field helped

ensure that Cambodia was awarded the top spot at the 1997 Ramayana Festival in Bangkok.

Police have not charged anyone with her murder, and the circumstances surrounding

her death remain a mystery even now, seven years after the event.

Sam Bunthoeurn, February 8, 2003 (Shot Feb 6)

On February 6, monk Sam Bunthoeurn was shot three times in the chest by a pair of

gunmen while he was standing in front of Wat Lanka, Phnom Penh. He died two days

later as a result of his injuries, while receiving treatment at Calmette Hospital.

A well-respected Buddhist leader, Bunthoeurn is best remembered for advocating Buddhist

voting rights.

Immediately after the event, police said the assassination was the result of a dispute

between Buntheourn and a layman. They subsequently suggested that they had information

which linked a suspect to the slaying. Four years later, Bunthoeurn's killer has

yet to be apprehended.

Bunthoeurn's body has been preserved and is now displayed to the public from a converted

supermarket freezer at Oudong's Buddhist center.

Om Radsady, February 18, 2003

Five months before the general election, Om Radsady, senior adviser to Funcinpec

leader Norodom Ranariddh, was shot in the thigh by two men while leaving a restaurant

in the Daun Penh district. He died later that day in Calmette hospital. Witnesses

reported seeing the assassins flee on a blue Honda AX-1 motorbike. An initial statement

by the Ministry of Interior (MoL) claimed Radsady had been murdered for his mobile

phone, but it later said there could have been a political motive for the assassination.

Radsady, a senior adviser to Funcinpec leader Prince Norodom Ranariddh, was a well-liked

former MP and popular public figure.

Mom Sophann, a rank and file member of parachute regiment 911, and his brother, were

both arrested and charged with the Radsady's murder. They said their motive was robbery.

Chea Vichea, January 22, 2004

Chea Vichea, an outspoken trade union activist and Sam Rainsy party supporter, was

shot in the head, chest and left wrist while reading a newspaper at a stand next

to Wat Lanka. In a contract-style drive-by hit, Vichea was shot repeatedly at close

range by an unmasked assailant who then fled on a motorbike driven by an accomplice.

Police arrested Sok Samoeun and Bourn Samnang, who were then convicted of Vichea's

murder, but the pair have vigorously asserted their innocence. The Cambodian Human

Rights Action Committee (CHRAC) is campaigning to have the men set free. The campaign

has earned the support of Va Sothy, a witness to the crime, King Father Norodom Sihanouk,

and Chea Mony, Vichea's brother. Many people have linked the assassination to a threatening

text-message received by Vichea shortly before his death.

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