Family Searches for Motives in Grenade Attack

Only trusted friends are allowed to visit the bedside of 56-year-old real estate broker Sorn Sin at Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh, where he is recovering from injuries he suffered in a grenade attack on his family in Sen Sok district last week.

Mr. Sin’s daughter Sin Theavy—who escaped unscathed but whose 11-year-old brother died of wounds from the explosion—fears her father will be at risk of another attack if she lets anyone with a “strange face” go to see him.

Sin Theavy stands near her truck, which is pocked with holes made by shrapnel from a grenade thrown at her family last week at their home in Phnom Penh's Sen Sok district. (Alex Consiglio/The Cambodia Daily)
Sin Theavy stands near her truck, which is pocked with holes made by shrapnel from a grenade thrown at her family last week at their home in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district. (Alex Consiglio/The Cambodia Daily)

“This case is too mysterious,” Ms. Theavy said by telephone Wednesday. “It is hard to find the murderers. We are being cautious—people who have strange faces and are unknown are not allowed to visit him.”

Ms. Theavy was having dinner with her family on the patio in front of their home in Khmuonh commune on the evening of October   9 when two men on a motorbike drove past and lobbed a grenade in their midst.

Ms. Theavy’s younger brother, Sin Dara, died at Kantha Bopha hospital a few hours later. Her father was taken to Calmette Hospital with burns on his legs and a piece of shrapnel in his stomach.   A 12-year-old boy and two other men—including Mr. Sin’s close friend Dorn Sok, 32, a moneylender—are all still in the hospital.

On the night of the attack, officers picked up two men whose red motorbike was the same color as that described by witnesses, but released them the following day when it became clear they were not the culprits.

Yim Davuth, director of the district police’s investigation department in charge of the case, refused to discuss the case.

“I am working on this case, but I refuse to tell you anything,” he said at the district police station on Monday as he hurried reporters out of his office. “If you find out who is responsible, tell me.”

Commune police chief Nhean Nan reiterated Wednesday that he believes the culprits were motivated by revenge.

“Not only my police, but other police are working on the case,” he added. “But we do not have any clues yet.”

Ms. Theavy—who, following the attack, shut down the fledging wholesale grocery business she was running out of the house—has one speculation.

“I am not sure if the attackers wanted to kill my family members or my father’s friend [Mr. Sok, the moneylender] who joined us for dinner,” she said on Monday.

But contacted by telephone, Mr. Sok said he had not once had a disagreement with a customer.

“I have never had a problem with anyone, including people who have borrowed money from me,” he said.

Chhin Sreyneang, one of Mr. Sin’s three wives and the mother of slain Sin Davy, said she had no hope of finding closure.

“I cannot describe my feelings—I am shocked,” she said. “I do not think my husband was the [intended] target because he is a good person. I have no hope that police can arrest the murderers.”

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