Attack Investigations Produce Few Results

Popular singer Touch Srey Nich, though still paralyzed in a Bangkok hospital from gunshots to her neck and face, is singing again, her cousin said Wednesday.

“She is tired of staying in the hospital, so she asked the doctors if she could sing karaoke,” Sok Neath said, adding that the doctors agreed in hopes it would help the singer relax.

But the investigation into last October’s daylight attack, which left Touch Srey Nich in critical condition and killed her mother, has seen little progress.

In January, while Touch Srey Nich remained unable to speak, government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said her recovery, and testimony, was essential for  police to catch the attackers.

Her voice has been recovering since mid-February, but police have announced no breakthroughs.

Municipal Penal Police Chief Reach Sokhon said Thursday he will look into the case further. He also accused the singer’s father of obstructing the investigation.

“Only Touch Srey Nich’s father knows everything, but he always refuses to inform police,” Reach Sokhon said.

The attack on Touch Srey Nich was one in a series of unsolved attacks. The others were fatal.

Three days before she was shot, Chuor Chetharith, a pro-Funcin­pec Ta Prohm radio journalist, was gunned down outside his office.

Reach Sokhon said the investigation into that case has produced no results either. No suspects, no leads, he said Thursday.

The investigations into two other high-profile killings, headed by Deputy Municipal Police Chief Heng Pov, have produced disputed results and no convictions so far.

Two suspects arrested for the April 2003 slaying of Phnom Penh Municipal Court Judge Sok Sethamony were released last month due to a lack of evidence.

Police have detained two suspects for the January slaying of union leader and Sam Rainsy Party activist Chea Vichea, but evidence presented by police has been contested by observers. The principal witness told re­porters he had never seen the alleged shooter.

Phone calls placed since Tuesday to Heng Pov went unanswered.

But when Municipal Police Chief Suon Chheangly was asked Thursday about the four un­solved cases, he said, “We work very hard. We have never abandoned the cases…. The process is going good.”

He declined to comment further.

Thun Saray, director of rights group Adhoc, said Thursday that a general surge in violent crime belied the police’s abilities.

“It’s not only the high-profile cases, but also the security of the people in general,” he said.

Also, lack of trust in the authorities has kept witnesses from coming forward, Thun Saray said.

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights also stated its concern Thursday.

“It remains a matter of concern that credible investigations have yet to be undertaken in an effort to identify both those who are immediately responsible for these crimes, as well as those who ordered them,” a UN statement read.

 

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