Investigation Finds Killings Weren’t Political

The Interior Ministry’s Central Security Bureau reported on Wednesday that politics was not a motive in the killings of any of the people killed from the three main political parties in the past four months.

Director General of National Police Hok Lundy also said the specially formed Central Security Bureau rated the voter and party reg­istration process a success so far, despite irregularities caused by the opposition Sam Rainsy Party.

Hok Lundy also announced that 30,000 police officers would be deployed at a cost of $2 million to oversee security for the re­mainder of the election process.

“It is remarkable that some activities that lead to making a chaotic environment and obstruction to the election process were caused by the opposition party,” Hok Lundy told the meeting attended by provincial and municipal officials.

“[The opposition] incited and motivated voters to hold demonstrations against the National Election Committee and provoked chaotic activities in the registering office,” Hok Lundy claimed.

Sam Rainsy has rallied against the NEC leadership, which he claims is not independent, as it was handpicked by the Interior Ministry.

The opposition leader also personally attended voter registration centers to ensure staff registered Buddhist monks following complaints that they were being prohibited from registering.

According to Hok Lundy, in the previous four months, nine members of the ruling CPP have been killed, followed by five members of Funcinpec and three Sam Rainsy Party members.

However all of the slayings were the result of personal disputes, domestic violence or robberies, Hok Lundy said.

“We did not receive any result from our investigations showing that those killings and murders related to political conflict or political intimidation,” Hok Lundy said.

Ten suspects have been arrested for their alleged involvement in five of the killings, and police are seeking warrants to arrest a further five suspects, he said.

Statistics on assaults and intimidation of party members and the destruction of political party signs showed a similar trend as the killings, the police chief reported.

Five CPP members, five Sam Rainsy Party members and one member of the Khmer Unity Party were assaulted. Police have arrested four suspects related to three cases.

Regarding intimidation, the Sam Rainsy Party reported 14 instances of threats against its members, while the CPP, the Hang Dara Party, the election monitoring group Comfrel and a commune councilor reported one threat each, Hok Lundy said.

Upon investigation, however, police found 10 of the cases of reported intimidation were groundless, while one case was “negotiated” and one case was acted upon, Hok Lundy said.

Compared with previous elections in 1993 and 1998 and the commune elections in 2002, the security situation approaching the 2003 election was much better, Hok Lundy said.

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