Cafe Owner Struggles to Deal With Wife’s Death

David Finch had never heard such a noise, and he figured his wife, Jeun Sokha, had fainted from the thunderous explosion as he saw her falling to the floor of their cafe.

With the help of friends, he turned her onto her side and told her to breath deeply. She did, once, then apparently lost consciousness. It was only when Finch took his 23-year-old wife to Calmette hospital and a doctor had re­moved her shirt, that he saw the tiny red dot on her chest, like a pen mark.

She had probably died just seconds after the tiny piece of shrapnel, from a grenade that exploded at about midnight on Street 86 Thursday night, had bored through the door of the Peace Cafe and pierced her heart, Finch said. Police say the grenade was the climax of an argument be­tween two groups of men, at least some of whom had been drinking nearby.

Police have two suspects in custody, but authorities have made contradictory statements as to who threw the grenade. Hin Bor, a driver’s assistant, and Ham Savet, who might be a current or former military policeman, were arrested Friday but have not been formally charged. They are sched­­uled to appear in Municipal Court today. A third person, Ma Sok Heng, also arrested Friday, has been charged with provoking a fight with Hin Bor and Ham Savet, said Pol Davy, spokesman for the municipal military police.

Finch, 33, gathered with friends Saturday for an informal mem­orial service at the cafe. He and Jeun Sokha had been married two years and had a 14-month-old son, Sokheng.

Finch’s first reaction was to take his son and go back to England. Now, he’s not sure. “This is my home,” said Finch, who has been living in Cambodia for five years.

The Peace Cafe is closed now. Finch said he might move to a new location and rename the cafe after his wife.

If they just hadn’t been near the door, he said, if they had been anywhere else in the cafe, this wouldn’t have happened. He said without his wife, “the world is a worse place.”

 

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