Police Deny Political Factor in Activist’s Death

A police informant and Sam Rainsy Party activist was killed in Kompong Thom province Satur­day in what the opposition party claims is the latest in a series of politically motivated killings.

Uk Sao, 46, was asleep at 7:45 pm at his home in Kalmek village, Stung Sen district, when he was shot in the back with an AK-47 assault rifle. The bullet exited through his chest, Stung Sen district deputy police chief Yang Sam said Sunday.

Eng Chhay Eang, secretary general of the Sam Rainsy Party, said the victim was an opposition activist in his commune, and contended he was killed because of his political affiliation. But police said they doubted the incident was related to politics.

“He was an informant for the police who had caused a lot of arrests of robbers and kidnappers. This case is absolutely not politics. It is revenge,” Yang Sam said.

Police believe a robber or kidnapper learned Uk Sao was ex­posing criminals, became angry and shot him to death, Yang Sam said.

Before he was killed, Uk Sao’s relatives begged him to quit working for the police, tipping them off to bandit activity in the area, because his own brother was a bandit, Yang Sam said.

Police have a suspect and are looking for him, but Yang Sam would not reveal the suspect’s name.

Human rights groups were investigating the killing Sunday. Officials from Licadho and Adhoc said they were sending investigators to the area. UN Human Rights spokeswoman Francesca Marotta said the agency was aware of the killing, but hadn’t yet decided whether to send someone to investigate.

Sok Pheng, Sam Rainsy Party chief for Kompong Thom pro­vince, said he hadn’t reached a conclusion about the incident.

“I am searching for further information,” he said.

“If he was an activist, the killing was political,” he added.


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