A grenade hidden inside a bag of fruit was delivered to a Phnom Penh home on Tuesday in an apparent threat to the deputy administrator of a well-known Chinese bank, military police said Thursday.
Military police stationed outside the Daun Penh district home of Chea Rattana, the deputy director of Union Commercial Bank, spotted the grenade inside a plastic bag containing mangosteens shortly after a cyclo driver delivered it to the executive’s home as a gift, said municipal Penal Military Police Chief Chhom Mo.
Inside the bag delivered to Chea Rattana was a small note, reading: “Rattana—You are very safe.”
The cyclo driver, Chhit Sokhom, 54, was arrested and released Tuesday after telling authorities that an unidentified man paid him $0.25 to deliver the bag, and that he did not know a grenade was planted inside, Chhom Mo said. No one was injured.
Tuesday’s incident marks at least the third time since March that explosives have wound up outside the homes of Union Commercial Bank executives, including the bank’s head, Yim Sui Sang. A grenade was left hanging on the gate of his home in March, weeks after another was discovered outside the residence of another bank administrator.
The bank, one of Cambodia’s longest-serving financial establishments, employs a hefty security detail. A military police post is stationed across the street from its offices in Daun Penh district, and uniformed guards check customers at the entrance beside a sign prohibiting firearms.
Accountants at the bank said Thursday that Chea Rattana was not available and that bank management, including Yim Sui Sang, was in China and unavailable for comment.
“We just heard the news from outside. We don’t know anything about this” threat, said an accountant who did not want to be named.
The latest threat against a local bank executive comes in the same week that an Australian bank announced plans to open branches in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, and hailed stability in the country, its ripe investment climate and growing tourism industry.
ANZ Banking Group Ltd has teamed up with the Royal Group, a conglomerate headed by local tycoon Kith Meng, to launch an $18 million banking operation as soon as next year. Speaking at a ceremony Monday to formally declare their joint venture, Kith Meng said it marked another step toward “reconciliation and economic stability” in Cambodia.
(Additional reporting by Luke Reynolds)