Little Progress Shown in Cases of Controversial Killings in Pursat

Almost six months since three ethnic-Vietnamese fishermen were shot dead by Fisheries Admin­istration officials in Pursat province, no arrests have been made and no charges brought, provincial court Chief Prosecutor Tob Chanserey­vuth said Tuesday.

The two men and a pregnant woman were shot dead April 23 in Krakor district by armed fisheries officials who claimed they were attacked first and shot in self-defense.

However, several witnesses to the incident said the officials opened fire on the unarmed fishermen without provocation.

“The case is still under investigation,” Tob Chansereyvuth said by tele­phone. He referred further questions to Pursat Provincial Court Investigating Judge Pol Vorn.

Pol Vorn hung up his telephone when contacted by a reporter Tues­day afternoon.

Also in Pursat province, the parents of a man shot dead by forestry officials in Bakan District on Sept 22 are seeking $30,000 in compensation from the forestry department for his death, the deceased man’s father, Ear Nam, said.

Ham Bathea, 28, was shot dead by armed forestry officials who alleged the victim was involved in a timber smuggling operation. Three of the five officials arrested for the killing were released on bail over the weekend, Pursat Deputy Chief Prosecutor Pen Sarath said Wednesday. “The charges have not been dropped, our investigation is ongoing,” Pen Sarath said.

And in another controversial Pursat killing, Investigating Judge Duch Chantha said Wednesday that his investigation into the shooting death of Pich Srey Mom, 27, by military police in March had ended.

No one was charged following the killing of Pich Srey Mom, who was shot in the head in Phnom Kravanh district during a joint operation by Conservation Interna­tional and military police against m’reah prov tree oil smuggling in the area. Officials have described the killing as accidental.

Duch Chantha said the case had ended but he refused to give any details.

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