Police Arrest Pursat Man in Funcinpec Death

Police on Sunday arrested a Pursat man in the killing of a Fun­cinpec member, alleging the slaying arose from bad medicine the victim gave the suspect’s mother.

Funcinpec officials have called the June 23 death of 40-year-old Chan Vichet a “political assassination.”

General Mao Chandara, chief of headquarters for National Police, said Tuesday that Pursat provincial police arrested Ham Chrauch on Sunday, alleging that he paid another man about $12.50 to kill Chan Vichet.

“Based on Ham Chrauch’s direct answers, the suspect confessed to police that he hired people to kill Chan Vichet out of personal revenge,” Mao Chandara said.

Bad blood arose when Chan Vichet, who police say is a “witch,” or traditional medicine doctor, prescribed bad medicine to Ham Chrauch’s mother, which made the woman ill.

Police know the identity of the still-at-large gunman and are pursuing him. Ham Chrauch has been sent to court to be charged, Mao Chandara said.

Funcinpec officials say Chan Vichet was an information officer for the party at the provincial level, based in Char village, roughly 105 km northwest of Phnom Penh. The shooting came at 9:30 pm, one day after Funcin­pec President Prince No­ro­dom Ranariddh visited the pro­vince.

Police said Chan Vichet was a CPP member who had switched his party allegiances from Fun­cinpec. Authorities originally re­ported three men approached Chan Vichet’s house, shined a flashlight in his face while he was sleeping and shot him three times.

Ly Thuch, a National Assembly candidate from Prey Veng, on Sunday showed pictures taken June 24 of the man’s corpse and his grass hut in which he was killed.

Chan Vichet was a resistance soldier in the Siha­noukist Nation­al Army in the 1980s and was repatriated from the Thai border camps in 1993, Funcinpec officials said.

He was a father of four children, they said.

The UN is investigating the incident, but has yet to determine a motive in the slaying.

Mao Chandara discounted op­position party claims of political motivation behind the murders. “If a cat scratched these opposition people, they would see it as politically motivated,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Marc Levy)

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