25 November 2009
Tep Nimol and Kim Yuthana
Phnom Penh Post
THE lead suspects in the murder of a Sam Rainsy Party activist from Kampong Thom have gone into hiding in the remote northwest of the country in order to avoid arrest, local authorities said Tuesday.
Huoth Bunhua, a police official in Steung district’s Chamnar Leu commune, said authorities had already identified the suspects and were hunting for them, but that the perpetrators found out about the plan in advance and managed to escape.
“We have enough documents and evidence to arrest those perpetrators and send them to face trial,” he said.
Chou Song, 23, the son-in-law of the victim, said his father-in-law, Touch Hot, 45, was shot dead by unidentified men on September 3 while eating dinner with his family.
After the incident, the SRP issued a statement condemning the murder and called for authorities at all levels to launch investigations into the killing.
After initial investigations, officials said the shooting was not politically motivated.
“We think that this killing is not related to a political issue,” Steung district police Deputy Chief Van Sophan said.
He said the suspect accused the victim of being a sorcerer. Witchcraft-related killings have been occasionally reported in Cambodia and have been condemned by the government.