The top suspect in two recent hotel bombings has turned himself into authorities in Phnom Penh, but claims he had no role in the attack, police said.
Ouk Sathya, a former Funcinpec lieutenant colonel in the army, said he was not involved in the July 4 bombings at the Hong Kong and Favour hotels that left three dead and 11 injured, police said.
Ouk Sathya, who turned himself in Thursday night, has not been charged, police said.
He had been implicated as the leader of the attack by another suspect already in custody.
“Right now, we can’t say he is the leader of the bombing, but we did not believe him 100 percent,” said Sau Phon, the deputy national police chief.
“We need time to investigate some more information because this man has seven wives east of the Mekong River,” he said.
The police investigation of the bombings has so far led to the arrest of Chriek Moa, 31.
Chriek Moa told police that he planted the bombs at the Monivong Boulevard hotels on the orders of Ouk Sathya, who promised to pay him $100,000, police said.
A second suspect, Than Borin, 29, was arrested in Banteay Meanchey province last week and brought to Phnom Penh for questioning.
Police said they do not know if he will be charged.
Ouk Sathya was a Funcinpec soldier who abandoned his post after the 1997 factional fighting and became a farmer, feeding fish with his seven wives, Sau Phon said.
Thav Kimlong, owner of the Favour hotel, said he doesn’t know whom to believe, but wants to see the investigation continue.
“I am a victim, but I could not say if he is the real bomb attacker. Please let the [investigators] conclude,” Thav Kimlong said.
Ouk Sathya was taken to the Ministry of Interior on Thursday night by Lay Virak, the deputy governor of Phnom Penh and a former Funcinpec army general.
He is being held at the ministry for his own safety, Sau Phon said.