Police Arrest Suspect in 2003 Shooting of French National

Following a five-year search, Siem Reap Provincial Court charged a 29-year-old man Friday with the premeditated murder of a French national in Siem Reap in 2003, police said Sunday.

Kompong Cham provincial po­lice arrested Gnov Sophan on Thurs­day night in Kratie province’s Chhlong district, Kompong Cham provincial police chief Nuon Samin said, adding he had transferred the suspect to Siem Reap provincial police the following day.

Gnov Sophan is suspected of murdering Thierry Robert Charies, who was fatally shot through the heart in August 2003 as he was driving his motorcycle to a guesthouse in Siem Reap town.

Police believe a jealous Gnov Sophan shot Charies because the 50-year-old Frenchman was the lover of his ex-wife.

Nuon Samin said police had needed years to track down the suspect because he had been moving around the country but finally found him living in Kompong Damrei commune.

“He was living there as a farmer with his relatives,” he said, adding, “The police found him in his cottage after they arrived.”

Gnov Sophan had confessed he was involved in the crime, but said that an accomplice had shot Charies, Nuon Samin said.

Siem Reap provincial police chief Soath Nordy said that he sent the suspect to the provincial court Friday.

“He was charged with illegal gun possession and premeditated kill­ing,” Soath Nordy said.

Siem Reap serious crimes police chief San Sophea said Sunday the police spent much time and energy hunting down Gnov Sophan.

“It doesn’t matter where he was and how much time we spent; we were trying our best to get the killer to show the foreigners that we don’t ignore a criminal,” he said.

A French Embassy spokeswo­man declined to comment on the arrest as she was unfamiliar with the case.

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