A 3rd Vietnam Memorial Bomb Suspect Arrested

Police in Battambang province have arrested a third suspect in last month’s failed attempt to blow up the Cambodia-Vietnam friendship monument in Phnom Penh, officials said Aug 16.

Bavel district police chief Ou Proeung said Sok Kim Sovath, a 51-year-old Khmer Krom man, was arrested Aug 14 evening at his home in Kdol Tahem commune.

“We invited him to leave the house and we arrested him,” Ou Proeung said. “We had an arrest warrant from the court.”

Chhay Sinarith, director of the Interior Ministry’s Central Infor­mation Department, alleged that Sok Kim Sovath was a leader of the bombing attempt, which took place July 29.

One small device exploded in the incident, which did no damage to the monument, while larger bombs failed to go off and were made safe by bomb disposal experts.

“[Sok Kim Sovath] was involved in the leading, participation, ordering and carrying the explosives to the place at the monument,” Chhay Sinarith said. “He is the ringleader.”

Chhay Sinarith added that officials would bring Sok Kim Sovath to Phnom Penh Aug 16 evening so he could be charged at the municipal court.

The accused’s wife, Sa Savai, 52, said Aug 16 that she had sought help from NGOs in Phnom Penh for her husband, who she said was innocent.

“My husband was at home all of that time,” she said. “Why would he have done it?”

Soeng Senkaruna, an investigator for the Khmer Kampu­chea Krom Human Rights Organi­zation, said he believed Sok Kim Sovath was innocent.

“I am worried and afraid the wrong people have been arrested,” he said, adding that he doubted whether there really was a plot to destroy the monument.

“If someone had really wanted to destroy [the Cambodia-Vietnam friendship monument] it would be gone now,” Soeng Senkaruna said, adding that his organization would likely supply Sok Kim Sovath with a lawyer.

The two other suspects in the bombing attempt-Soeung Than and Kim Toeun, who are both also Khmer Krom—were charged with terrorism and illegal use of explosives Aug 1, two days after being arrested in Phnom Penh.

 

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