siem reap town – Court authorities said here Thursday that they do not have enough evidence to issue arrest warrants for anyone connected to the Sept 24 attack on a convoy of CPP parliamentarianselect.
“The Ministry of Interior is still working to investigate in Siem Reap,” the investigating prosecutor of Siem Reap Provincial Court, Nem Sovath, said Thursday. “We still have no information” on progress in the investigation.
At least three people were detained and questioned two days after the attack, but no evidence was found and the suspects were released, police and human rights workers reported Thursday. Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said Tuesday that international links were suspected in the ambush that officials describe as a failed attempt on the life of Hun Sen, the second prime minister and CPP vice president.
Lor Ramin, who is leading the investigation, indicated Thursday in Phnom Penh that authorities had pinpointed suspects.
“Our police investigation so far has certain lights that will lead to the target of the case,” Lor Ramin said by telephone. “I hope suspects will be discovered soon.”
Ministry of Interior officials traveled to Siem Reap on Oct 1 and left three or four days later, police here said. Top investigators are not releasing any information about the inquiry.
The bush from which the remote-controlled B-40 rocket was launched Sept 24 stood stripped of its branches on Thursday and the house where 15-year-old Sor Chanrithy was killed still bore the damage where the rocket-propelled grenade exploded.
At least two walls are sagging and shrapnel marks scar the ceiling two stories up.
Witnesses and area residents on Thursday reported seeing nothing suspicious in the hours preceding the attack.
Several witnesses said Thursday that they initially thought the explosion was not a B-40 rocket.
“I thought somebody had tossed a grenade out the window,” said roadside moto-repairman Chhim Nhan, 50, while squatting and fitting metal hooks onto the end of long rubber strips.
Muy Soveth, 20, thought the blast was an electric discharge from power lines. Mao Ty, 18, thought lightning had hit the house behind where he runs a moto-washing business with Muy Soveth.
The two were sitting reading a magazine and watching the motorcade pass by when the blast happened.
“I ducked and then I heard crying from the house,” Mao Ty said.
Provincial police, then military police grilled all three for hours that day.
Area residents said it was raining hard the night before the attack and no one saw any suspicious activity. In addition, there were no suspicious people lurking in the area at the time. The only Westerners seen, witnesses said, were tourists driving by on motorcycles.
Rights workers in Siem Reap on Thursday said an atmosphere of fear prevailed over witnesses to the attack, making them afraid to tell the truth. Muy Soveth and Mao Ty both said they felt fear.
They added, however, that they answered police questions truthfully. Chhim Nhan, who said he was fixing a moto not more than 10 meters from where the rocket fired that day, said he did not fear the police questioning.
“For me, I am a common person, so I said what I saw,” he said.