Gangsters Suspected in Murder of Chinese

takhmau, Kandal pro­vince – The Chinese national stabbed to death early Sunday in Ang Snuol district was the victim of a dispute between Chi­nese gang­sters, a senior Kandal pro­vin­cial police official asserted Wed­nesday.

“Gangsters killed each other. They stab­bed a friend,” Tom Vai, deputy chief of Kandal judicial police, said at his office 15 km outside Phnom Penh.

The victim, identified as Cxai Lee, 39, was a key organizer of 25 illegal Chinese immigrants taken into custody in Phnom Penh on Mon­­­day, less than 24 hours after he was killed, police have said.

Cxai Lee was taken from his room at Le President Hotel at about 3:30 am Sunday and driven by five men to a worksite, where he was stabbed in the side and chest, Tom Vai maintained.

Workers near the murder site said the attackers’ white Toyota Camry had police registration plates, but Tom Vai said no police had been linked to the murder.

Tom Vai said the vehicle had been rented from Tonle Bassac commune chief Phen Vann, who investigators had not contacted. The car was found abandoned near the murder scene, he said.

One suspect, an unknown Chi­nese national, was arrested by Phnom Penh mun­icipal police when he re­turned to Le Presi­dent Hotel on Sunday afternoon, Tom Vai said. This ac­count differed from what he said Tuesday about the arrest, which was that a suspect was arrested on Route 2 and taken to the Interior Min­istry compound.

The 25 were discovered in a Chamkar Mon district house Mon­day after four tried to es­cape by jumping out a first-floor window. They tried to escape after learn­ing of Cxai Lee’s death and becoming scared, according to some of the Chi­nese interviewed Tues­day, and Sim Vuthy, Cham­kar Mon district deputy inspector.

The 25, mostly tailors and shoemakers who paid thousands of dollars to come to Cambodia, claim they have spent much of the last year locked in a series of Phnom Penh houses waiting for Cxai Lee to arrange passage to western countries. They said they did not know what type of documents Cxai Lee was trying to get for them.

(Additional reporting by Kevin Doyle)

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