Local Official Arrested for Deadly Blast

A 39-year-old Kompong Cham province deputy village chief has confessed to throwing a grenade into a crowded party, killing five people, because he was having a business dispute with his brother-in-law.

Police arrested You Ein on charges of murder for the Nov 1 grenade attack that also wounded 25 in Srei Saom village, Kompong Cham, Penal Police Bureau Chief Bun Bann said. Authorities apprehended You Ein, who is Srei Saom’s deputy village chief, on Monday after a four-day search, Bun Bann said.

You Ein said he threw the grenade because he was angry the party hosts had rented stereo equipment from his brother-in-law and not from himself, Bun Bann said. Both men rent loudspeakers and stereo equipment for festivals and, weeks before, You Ein’s brother-in-law had put together a free party as a promotion, winning the wedding party’s approval.

The wounded included You Ein’s brother-in-law, Bun Bann said.

The villagers had gathered to celebrate the full moon, which  coincided with the third day of the Water Festival.

In his confession, You Ein said he confiscated the grenade from a fellow villager in 1999, Bun Bann said. Instead of disposing of the grenade, the deputy village chief held on to it.

“I kept this grenade for self-defense and for catching fish. But my brother-in-law made me so angry because we’re in the same business,” Bun Bann quoted You Ein as saying.

Witnesses had identified You Ein as a suspect in the attack, but police had a difficult time conducting the investigation because of the village’s remote location, Bun Bann said. Srei Saom is more than 100 km east of Kompong Cham town, and accessible only by horse- or ox-drawn cart.

You Ein fled into the dense woods around the village after the attack, Bun Bann said. Authorities have sent him to Kompong Cham provincial prison to await trial.


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