Jurisdiction Fight Delays Probe of Slayings

The investigation into the slayings of five Vietnamese fishermen who were killed last month has been hampered because police in three different provinces are all trying to put responsibility on other agencies, officials ac­know­ledged Thursday.

Police in Kompong Thom, Pursat and Kompong Chhnang provinces have all denied having jurisdiction in the stabbing deaths of five fishermen tentatively identified as Yor Yang Path, 20, Veng Yang Men, 24, Yor Yang Pen, 29, Yag Yang Yim, 18 and Veng Yang Teat, 15, all of Boribo district, Kompong Chhnang pro­vince, which lies near the border between Kompong Thom and Kom­pong Chhnang provinces.

Four of the men’s bodies washed up in Krakor district of Kompong Thom province Oct 17. They had been wrapped in a fishing net and all had been stabbed.

A fifth man was found in Pursat province later. His hands had been tied behind his back, and his body had been weighted to send him to the bottom of the lake, officials said.

The men were last seen leaving their homes for a fishing trip in early October, police said, but officials in all three provinces have been ducking responsibility for the investigation.

“The scene was in Pursat pro­vince, so the provincial police officers should be responsible. There’s no excuse for them not to take responsibility,” Kompong Chhnang province Judicial Police Chief Chim Buntheoun said.

Pursat province officials, however, have countered that the men clearly were killed somewhere else, and therefore the case should belong either to Kom­­pong Chhnang or Kompong Thom officials.

Krakor district Police Chief Bin Vann said his officers considered the motive to be a personal dispute because nothing was stolen and the men’s bodies were almost covered in stab wounds. The chief added, however, that he wasn’t interested in solving the crimes.

“I haven’t investigated the killings because they were far from our boundaries,” Bin Vann said.

The Vietnamese government does not care who takes the investigation—as long as someone does, Vietnamese Embassy spokesman Nguyen Thanh Duc said.

“The case must be investigated by the Cambodian police,” he said.

 

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