Hundreds Pay Respects to Sam Bunthoeun

About 500 monks gathered Wednesday morning on Odong mountain in Kandal province for a two-hour ceremony commemorating the eleventh anniversary of the death of Sam Bunthoeun, the former president of the Buddhist Meditation Center of Odong.

The ceremony took place between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Wednesday morning in Wat Odong in Ponhea Leu district, where an opaque refrigerated casket still holds Sam Bunthoeun’s body. 

“About 700 people lined up in the pagoda to offer food and other gifts to around 500 monks, and white cloth to nuns and achar to commemorate the eleventh anniversary of Sam Bunthoeun’s death,” said Phsar Dek, commune police chief Euk Tha.

On February 6, 2003, Sam Bunthoeun, 47, was gunned down at Phnom Penh’s Wat Lanka by two men on a motorcycle. Having sustained two bullet wounds to his chest, he died two days later at Calmette Hospital. His killers have never been identified.

“People and monks have held this ceremony every year since his death to commemorate him and pay our respects as he made a huge contribution to our society and Buddhism,” Mr. Tha said.

Chao San Ratha, director of Independent Monks Radio and chief assistant to But Buntenh, the head of the Independent Monk Network for Social Justice, agreed.

“I came to join the ceremony because I want to pay my respects to him since he set a good example for the next generation of monks and created a meditation center in various provinces that has taught nuns, achar and monks how to meditate,” Mr. Ratha said, adding that he is upset that no one has ever been prosecuted for Sam Bunthoeun’s murder.

“We are upset that the government cannot find the perpetrator to bring to justice since he [Sam Bunthoeun] was killed more than 10 years ago.”

Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak said Wednesday, “We still do not have new information about the killing.”

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