Father Says Land Dispute Possibly Behind Grenade Attack

Following the arrest of a commune chief Thursday for allegedly ordering a grenade attack that killed an 11-year-old boy in Phnom Penh in October, the child’s father said Monday that his family was likely targeted over a land dispute.

Sorn Sin, a real estate broker and a commune councilor in Prek Pnov district’s Kok Roka commune, was eating dinner with his children and friends in the front yard of their Khmuonh commune home on the evening of October 9 when two men drove past on a motorbike and lobbed a grenade at them.

Mr. Sin’s son, Sin Dara, died of injuries sustained in the explosion. Five others were wounded in the blast.

On December 14, military police arrested 27-year-old Nuon Sarith for carrying out the attack. On Thursday, police arrested Phy Nop, chief of Kok Roka commune, for allegedly ordering the hit, along with moto-taxi driver Pov Bun Thoeun, who was accused of soliciting the services of Mr. Sarith, and the driver of the motorbike, who remains at large.

The commune chief and the middleman were placed in provisional detention at Prey Sar prison after being charged on Friday, military police spokesman Kheng Tito said Monday, although he could not recall the charges laid against the pair.

Mr. Sin said Monday that a few months before the attack, he and Mr. Nop were called to the municipal court to answer questions about a complaint filed by a South Korean businessman.

“As far as I remember, Mr. Nop was accused by the court of making fake documents and then, not long after that, the grenade attack on me happened,” he said.

Mr. Sin explained that he purchased a plot of land from Mr. Nop in Kok Roka commune for $97,000 about four months before the attack, then sold the land to a number of families. The South Korean man then filed a complaint with the court claiming that Mr. Nop had also sold the property to him.

“I think Mr. Phy Nop planned a revenge attack on me because we had a problem together in court,” he said.

Outside Mr. Sin’s house on Monday, his grown daughter, Sin Theavy—who shut down the wholesale grocery business she operated out of the home following the attack—said she had restarted the venture.

“I had a wall constructed around the front doors to hide all my products, and for our safety,” she said.


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