Police: Hotel Bombings a Case of Revenge

The July 4 bombings of two central Phnom Penh hotels that killed three and injured 11 may have been motivated by revenge or a personal dispute, but not extortion, co-Minister of the Interior You Hockry said Thurs­day.

The co-minister said he was not sure that the bombings’ true mastermind was in custody, even though several men have allegedly confessed to using the attacks as an extortion attempt.

“Before they came to Phnom Penh, [the bombers] tested the bombs in Kompong Cham. The offenders we arrested are former soldiers in Kompong Cham. And after the bomb blasts they climbed to heaven [celebrated] in Kompong Cham on July 5. We saw them in Kompong Cham and their car was kept in Kom­pong Cham. So we are continuing to investigate who hired them,” You Hockry said.

The bomb at the Favour Hotel exploded about an hour after the blast at the Hong Kong Hotel. Police originally said extortion was the motive because of calls to the Favour before and after the blast demanding $200,000.

The attackers demanded ransom after the blast, which seems to suggest another bomb was in the building, You Hockry said. But he said the amount of dynamite used in the Favour bombing—12 kg, or two kg more than used in the Hong Kong bombing—was so large that the bomb was intended to destroy the hotel rather than merely extract money from the owner.

You Hockry said the investigation is far from complete. But he added that he was not questioning National Police reports.

Authorities had earlier suggested that Ouk Sathya, a former RCAF lieutenant colonel, was the bombing ringleader, promising $100,000 to the men who carried out the attack.

Five suspects are now in police custody for the bombings.

Related Stories

Latest News

The Weekly DispatchA weekly newsletter from The Cambodia Daily delivering news, analysis and opinion to your inbox. Published every Friday at 11:30am. Sign up today.