3 Questioned in Shooting After Car Crash

Court officials have questioned three men who were traveling in the vehicle that slammed into a parked truck in Phnom Penh on Oct 27, killing one and injuring four others. Following the crash, a gang member opened fire with an AK-47 rifle and killed two passers-by, an investigating judge said.

The owner of the car is Seng Savanara, 22, but the court is not sure which of the three men was driving at the time of the accident, Judge Hing Thirith said Thurs­day.

All three are accusing each other of being the driver, saying they were too drunk at the time to clearly remember, he said.

Hing Thirith did not explain why Seng Savanara was only questioned and not arrested, des­pite an arrest warrant.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court issued an arrest warrant for Seng Savanara on Oct 29. He is the son of a Daun Penh district restaurant owner, police said.

Arrest warrants were also is­sued for two nephews of Prime Minister Hun Sen: Nhim Sophea, 22, and Nhim Chantana, 20, who also goes by Nhim Pov and Hun Pov.

Municipal police arrested Nhim Sophea early Tuesday morn­ing.

He was charged with the premeditated killing of a 40-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman who drove into his hail of AK-47 fire following the crash, Hing Thirith said. He is being held in Prey Sar prison.

Hing Thirith said Wednesday that Nhim Chantana and a fourth suspect, Than Chamroeun, who was initially jailed for his part in the incident and then later re­leased on bail, were actually victims.

Than Chamroeun, 23, was charged with traffic violations and intentional killing on Oct 29.

Heng Thirith said that only two men were responsible for the violence, and that one of them was now in prison.

Dy Borima, Nhim Sophea’s lawyer, said Thursday he did not know whether the court would free his client on bail. Hing Thi­rith declined to comment on the matter.

An opposition-aligned newspaper, Voice of the Khmer Youth, on Thursday called Nhim So­phea’s ar­rest a “farce” carried out to im­press UN human rights envoy Peter Leuprecht, who arrived in Cambodia on Thurs­day.

Om Yentieng, an adviser to Hun Sen dismissed that theory as “drama,” saying that those who promote it are trying to portray Cambodia as “the funny country.” The fate of the suspects is up to the judge and Hun Sen will not interfere, Om Yentieng added.


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