Adhoc Claims K’Cham Murder Not Political

An initial investigation by the human rights group Adhoc has concluded that the Sam Rainsy Party member shot to death in Kompong Cham last week was killed over a land dispute, not because of his political activities.

Chan Soveth, Adhoc’s head of monitoring, said investigators found no evidence that Chim Chhuon’s death was a political killing, a claim made repeatedly by opposition leader Sam Rainsy.

Local police say they have a suspect in the shooting and will be making an arrest by the end of the week. “We have all the evidence on the offender, but we are waiting for the arrest warrant from the court,” said Seng Sokim, deputy judicial penal police chief for Kompong Cham province. “We hope we will be finished with this case in the next three days.”

In the meantime, he said, police are watching the suspect, who he declined to identify.  Chim Chhuon and his 7-year-old daughter were killed Thurs­day as they slept next to their water pump in Tuol Bey village. Chim Chhuon’s wife, Seng Sokhom, was wounded in the attack.

Seng Sokhom, family members and neighbors told Adhoc investigators the shooting was linked to the dispute over a water canal. For more than a year, Chim Chhuon and a neighbor had been arguing over who had the right to pump water from a nearby canal. Seng Sokim said the two had last argued three days before the shooting.

Chim Chhuon’s wife has said she cannot identify the assailant because she did not see him clearly. Nobody else witnessed the incident.

Sam Rainsy said Chim Chhuon was an activist for the party and was to be the party’s candidate in the communal elections.

Chan Soveth said Adhoc is still investigating the case.



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