Fourth Officer Charged With Killing of Judge Case Killing

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.


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