Police Plan to Go Undercover to Solve Murder

Police in Pursat province plan to use undercover operatives to track down the murderer of a Chinese supervisor at Pheapimex Group’s cassava plantation in Krakor district, as Chinese workers living in the area are refusing to cooperate with investigators, police said Sunday.

Police suspect that 34-year-old Yang Liqing—whose body was found floating in a pond on a construction site in Chhoeu Tom commune on September 7 with a head wound likely inflicted by an ax—might have been killed by Chinese co-workers jealous of his position as gasoline-supply manager for the powerful agribusiness company, which is owned by Choeng Sopheap, the wife of CPP Senator Lao Meng Khin.

Yang Liqing’s case marks the second time a Chinese manager at the sprawling cassava plantation has been murdered. In January 2012, Chang Fi Yiek was gunned down in broad daylight, but police failed to find the perpetrator.

Now, authorities are growing frustrated because Chinese workers living in the area are refusing to answer questions related to the latest slaying.

“We need to send in spies to investigate, in order to break open the case,” said Seung Sopheak, provincial penal police chief. “If the Chinese nationals will not cooperated with the police, then this is what we must do.”

Mr. Sopheak added that police have not ruled out the possibility that the perpetrator is a local Cambodian resentful of Pheapimex and its managers due to residents’ long-running dispute over the company’s sprawling land concession.

“After the murder, villagers involved in the land dispute with the company did not want to talk to police, but we know those villages do not like the company,” Mr. Sopheak said.

Deputy provincial police chief Keo Sokunthea said investigators were also pursuing a separate line of inquiry related to the victim’s relationship to a local Cambodian woman whose family he paid $1,000 to wed.

“The Chinese man was engaged to a Khmer girl and brought her to visit his homeland in China, but when they returned, the couple split up and the girl’s parents paid back the money,” Mr. Sokunthea said.

“We don’t know if this has anything to do with the case, but we are looking into why they broke up, or whether there was another lover involved.”

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