1 Year Later, Shootings Remain Unsolved

One year ago on Thursday, pop­­ular singer Touch Srey Nich was leaving a flower shop in Phnom Penh when she was shot three times in the face and neck. Her mother was killed trying to shield her daughter from the hit men’s bullets.

No arrests have been made in the case.

Seng Phose, a relative of Touch Srey Nich, said on the anniversary of the attack that most of the singer’s family, fearing for their lives, had disappeared from the capital. Touch Srey Nich remains paralyzed in a Bangkok hospital.

“I am very disappointed the government has not found the kil­lers yet,” she said. “I don’t know what to do. I just let it be.”

The shooting of Touch Srey Nich occurred days after Chuor Che­tharith, a radio editor and re­porter with the pro-Funcinpec  sta­tion Ta Prohm, was shot dead out­side his Phnom Penh office.                         No arrests have been made in that case either.

Municipal penal police Chief Reach Sokhon said Thursday that some developments have been made in the Touch Srey Nich case.

Police now have a motive for the shooting of Touch Srey Nich, the police chief said, but making progress was difficult because  her family refuses to co­operate.

“I have some information,” Reach Sokhon said, “but we are try­ing to gather 70 percent of the mo­tive before we arrest” any suspects. Reach Sokhon would not re­veal any details of the motive.

The killing of Chuor Che­th­a­rith, the police chief said, “is still [shrouded] in darkness.”

The two shootings perpetuate a run of high-profile crimes and killings over the past few years that remain unsolved.

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said Thursday that the cases remain open, but would not comment further on any investigation.

Instead, he pledged that au­thor­ities would not rest until they had fulfilled their duty. “Some­times the flying birds forget about the trap,” he said, “but the trap never forgets about them.”

Over the past year, one high-profile case that did result in arrests was the January slaying of union leader Chea Vichea. But some, including Chea Vich­ea’s brother, Chea Mony, say that police have the wrong men.

Chea Mony has charged collusion in the case.  “The new government is incapable of finding the killers,” he said Thursday.

Thun Saray, director of the rights group Adhoc, said  un­solved high-profile crimes have become the norm.

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