An SRP commune election candidate in Preah Vihear province was strangled to death in his home Friday evening in what the SRP claimed was a politically motivated killing.
Provincial police, however, alleged Sunday that Prak Pheng, 35, a candidate in Chey Sen district’s Tasou commune, was strangled by a close relative during a domestic dispute.
Prak Pheng was found with bruises around his neck and a chain was discovered near his body, which appears to have been used to strangle him, said Long Ry, the SRP’s provincial representative. Prak Pheng also appeared to have been hit in the back of the head with a blunt object, he said.
“The killing was meant to intimidate other Sam Rainsy Party activists,” Long Ry claimed. “This killing is politically motivated…the [relative] could not be the killer.”
But police have determined that Prak Pheng was killed by a close relative, though they have not yet sought an arrest warrant as they want to let the relative attend the victim’s funeral first, said Chea San, provincial police chief.
The victim’s relative has confessed to killing Prak Pheng, he said, alleging that the suspect killed him after Prak Pheng returned home drunk from a wedding and tried to beat the suspect.
“The victim was too drunk to fight back,” Chea San said, adding that the suspect allegedly strangled Prak Pheng and beat his head on the ground.
Hor Neath, provincial coordinator for local rights group Adhoc, said he doubted the attack was politically motivated, and suspected that the relative was probably the culprit. “The killing was related to domestic violence,” he said, though he added that the suspect has denied any involvement in the crime. The suspected relative could not be reached for comment.