A grenade was discovered outside the home of CPP President Chea Sim’s Cabinet chief on Tuesday, an act described by authorities as intimidation but not linked to politics.
Police were alerted to the Soviet-made grenade outside Chea Sorn’s villa in Daun Penh district at about 6 am, said Municipal Military Police Chief Seng Song. It did not explode and there were no injuries, he said.
“This is a case of someone threatening Chea Sorn, but it is not politically motivated,” he said, adding that military police would conduct an investigation. Seng Song did not reveal any suspects.
Reached by phone at his workplace on Tuesday morning, Chea Sorn declined comment on the grenade and said he had no knowledge of what was behind it.
Khieu Sopheak, an Interior Ministry spokesman, said Tuesday he did not know of the incident.
Chea Sorn is a long-time associate and adviser to the embattled Senate president, who two months ago was whisked away to Bangkok under heavy police escort after police officers surrounded his compound. His abrupt departure came as Prime Minister Hun Sen, Chea Sim’s known rival within the party, attempted to push through a controversial constitutional change to end a nearly year-long political deadlock and begin his third mandate as premier.
Chea Sim, who apparently balked at approving the amendment, is believed to have been upset by Hun Sen’s agreement to a powersharing plan that largely excluded his faction from top government positions and promotions, according to observers.
Several sources, most recently Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh, have said the atmosphere surrounding the Chea Sim-Hun Sen conflict approached mortal conflict before Chea Sim was taken out of the country.
Since Chea Sim’s July 13 departure, the premier and other top CPP brass have sought to repair the party’s image, including a televised commercial showing party leaders feasting at a banquet.
Chea Sim, who returned to Phnom Penh late last month, has not commented on the circumstances of his departure or feud with Hun Sen.