Nephew Says He Accidentally Shot Official

The relative of a Sam Rainsy Party commune official who was shot to death in Kompong Speu province has confessed to “accidentally” killing the official, Kom­pong Speu province deputy police chief Chea Vuth said on Tuesday.

Deputy commune chief Tit Keo Monyroath was shot in the buttocks and killed as he was driving to a wedding late at night in Samraong Tong district on Nov 16. His nephew, Him Vuthea, was detained for questioning Thursday.

“[Him Vuthea] told us that the gun went off when they were riding a motorbike. The road is bumpy and the gun went off,” Chea Vuth said on Tuesday. “[He] said he had no intention to kill him.”

It was previously thought that Tit Keo Monyroath may have been assassinated because police found spent shell casings from an AK-47 rifle strewn across the scene of the crime.

Him Vuthea, interviewed on Nov 17 in Sambo commune, also told reporters that he was driving the motorcycle with his uncle when they were ambushed by two unidentified assailants, who shot his uncle dead.

Chea Vuth said the nephew lied to authorities when he said Tit Keo Monyroath was the victim of an assassination because he was scared of the police.

Him Vuthea, who was detained by police for almost five days, was the third individual questioned for the killing.

The first, Sao Sok, a military officer in Sambo commune, was released after the Ministry of Interior determined the AK-47 rifle he owns was not the weapon used in the killing. The name and details of the second suspect were never released.

The monitoring officer for Licadho on Tuesday confirmed that Him Vuthea confessed to unintentionally killing Tit Keo Monyroath and said it was not yet possible to ascertain whether Him Vuthea was forced by police to admit to the shooting.

Meach Samon, the Legal Aid of Cambodia lawyer representing Him Vuthea, said his client has been charged with killing, but could not say if it was intentional  or unintentional killing.


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