A fourth police officer was charged on Monday with the killing of municipal court judge Sok Sethamony in 2003, while officials said one of seven other officers detained in the ongoing purge of police ranks has been released.
Prum Sophearith, a municipal minor crime department officer, was charged with the killing at Phnom Penh Municipal Court and sent to Prey Sar prison to await trial, a court official said on condition of anonymity.
Mok Chito, first deputy chief of the Interior Ministry’s penal police department, confirmed that Prum Sophearith was suspected of involvement in the April 23, 2003 assassination-style killing on Sihanouk Boulevard.
“According to questioning by the military police, he was involved,” Mok Chito said, though he did not elaborate.
Muong Khim, chief of the penal police department, said national police had handed the suspect over to military police but declined further comment.
Prum Sophearith joins three other police officials suspected in the crime: municipal police official Hang Vutha, his brother Municipal Criminal Section Deputy Police Chief Hang Vuthy and Interior Ministry penal police officer Oum Samkheng.
It was not clear whether Prum Sophearith has been linked to the alleged attempts by the other three to kill both National Military Police Commander Sao Sokha and Phnom Penh Municipal Court Chief Prosecutor Ouk Savouth.
Deputy Prosecutor Sok Roeun referred questions to the court’s Director Chiv Keng, who did not answer calls.
In recent days, Prampi Makara district penal police chief Sao Mary was released from custody but removed from her position, said Touch Naroth, who replaced Heng Pov as Phnom Penh municipal police commissioner last month.
Muong Khim said on Jan 29 that Sao Mary was in custody at the Intervention Police Department. The reason for her detention and sacking are still unclear.
Sao Mary “was fired a few days ago,” Touch Naroth said, before referring further questions to district police Chief Yim Simony, who referred questions back to Touch Naroth.