Police Arrest 3 Suspects in Judge’s Slaying

Military police have arrested three men suspected of killing Sok Sethamony, the municipal court judge who was gunned down in an assassination-style at­tack in April, a police official said Wednes­day.

Mol Meat, 41, was arrested in Prey Veng province in the early hours of Sunday morning, and Chhun Chetra, 36, and Chhum Chaly, known as Ratana, 26, were ar­­rested at a guest house in Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo district, said the official, who de­clined to be named.

Authorities suspect the men of in­­volvement in the US-based Cam­bo­dian Freedom Fighters, a group sworn to the armed overthrow of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government.

“One of the suspected men is [CFF leader] Chhun Yasith’s cous­in. He was a terrorist leader who was seeking to buy gre­nades and weapons,” the official said. “Although they have not con­fessed, we suspect they are mem­bers of the CFF,” he added.

The three suspects remained in mil­­­itary police custody after a hearing at the Phnom Penh Mu­nic­ipal Court on Wednesday. Judge Kim Soaphorn is expected to issue a warrant for the suspects’ continued detention, the of­fic­ial said.

Kim Soaphorn could not be con­tacted Wednesday, but Mu­nic­ipal Court Judges Sok Roeun, So Dara and Tan Senarong said they were aware that suspects in the judge’s shooting had been in court.

Sok Sethamony, 42, had pre­sided over some of Cam­bo­­dia’s most high-profile cases in re­cent years, such as the trial of former Khmer Rouge commander Sam Bith and the trials of suspected members of the CFF rebel group.

The CFF is held responsible for a Nov 24, 2000, attack on two government buildings in Phnom Penh. Several rebels were killed and 11 police officers wounded dur­ing the fighting.

Witnesses to Sok Sethamony’s shooting reported that only two men were involved in the killing. Riding a motorcycle, the assailants pulled alongside the judge’s vehicle and shot him four times while he was stopped at the corner of Sihanouk Boulevard and Street 63.

 

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