Grenade Delivered to Senior Bank Official

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)

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