A Buddhist monk that died mysteriously in a Kandal province pagoda on Feb 27 had attended a protest earlier in the day outside the Vietnamese Embassy, a Khmer Krom Buddhist leader and human rights workers said March 2.
Yoeun Sin, president of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Buddhist Monk Association, said that the deceased, Eang Sok Thoeun, 33, had been part of the embassy protest over the alleged defrocking of Buddhist monks in Vietnam.
Yoeun Sin and rights groups said they remain skeptical of the police’s determination that Eng Sok Thoeun committed suicide by cutting his own throat at an Ang Snuol district pagoda.
Naly Pilorge, director of local rights group Licadho, said by telephone text message that another monk who was a friend of the deceased confirmed Eang Sok Thoeun’s presence at the demonstration.
“There should be an autopsy if the family agrees to determine the cause of death,” Pilorge added.
District police chief Kem Sokun reiterated March 2 his belief that the monk had killed himself. Police found no sign of a struggle or robbery attempt, but they did find nine pink pills of an unspecified drug, Kem Sokun said.
“He also told a neighbor that he would be dead at that hour,” he added.
Chan Soveth, an investigator with Adhoc, said that his interviews with acquaintances and residents near the pagoda cast doubt on the police’s version of events.
The haste with which the body was buried—less than 24 hours after it was discovered—would imply that some evidence was being hidden, Chan Soveth added.
Khmer Krom monks and organizations continued to denounce the Vietnamese government March 2 during a brief rally at a small pagoda in Phnom Penh.
Tucked back in a maze of unpaved streets in Meanchey district, the 25 minute demonstration was attended by about 300 people said Thach Sang, president of the Friendship Khmer Kampuchea Krom Association.