Authorities to Seek Sam Bith

Authorities are planning to arrest RCAF two-star general Sam Bith, the former Khmer Rouge commander accused of ordering the kidnapping of three Western backpackers who were eventually killed in 1994, officials said Wednesday.

Chhit Chiya, deputy chief of Phnom Penh municipal court and a prosecutor, said Sam Bith is wanted on charges of conspiring to kidnap, murder and destroy property. At least 13 Cambodian passengers were also killed in the ambush.

Sam Bith, who defected to the government in 1996, is the only one of the three suspects linked to the bloody train attack in Kampot province who is not in custody.

Chhouk Rin, an RCAF colonel and alleged leader of the raid who defected 10 weeks after the attack, was arrested Monday. Nuon Paet, another ex-guerrilla commander, was sentenced last June to life in prison for ordering the ambush.

Sao Sokha, the national military police commander who led the arrest against Chhouk Rin, said he is awaiting orders to arrest Sam Bith and does not know where the general is.

“Some people have asked me about that but I have no orders yet,” he said.

Co-Minister of Defense Tea Banh said Wednesday that he is confident that Sam Bith will have to answer for his part in the murders of Australian David Wilson, 29, Briton Mark Slater 26, and 27-year-old Jean-Michel Braquet xxxx

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