City authorities on Wednesday arrested a suspect who confessed to the shooting death of Funcinpec senior adviser Om Radsady and will take him to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court today to be charged, a Ministry of Interior official said.
The suspect, 29, allegedly confessed to shooting Om Radsady because he was poor and wanted to steal from him, said Heng Pov, deputy municipal police chief. He said the suspect was arrested on a road in the capital early Wednesday morning and police confiscated one pistol from him.
“We have identified that the gun is the one that killed Om Radsady—we are 100 percent sure,” Heng Pov said.
The municipal police will send the case to the court today for formal charges to be brought against the suspect.
Sau Phan, deputy director general of the National Police, who was present Wednesday during the suspect’s interrogation, said the motive for the killing remains unclear.
The Ministry of Interior confirmed that one suspect confessed to shooting Om Radsady and added that the authorities have another suspect in custody in connection to the killing.
“The man arrested matches the descriptions of eyewitnesses at the scene of the killing,” General Khieu Sopheak, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, said Wednesday.
The authorities found evidence in the possession of the suspect linking him to Om Radsady, such as a Nokia 9210 handphone—the same model of phone stolen from Om Radsady—which had been recently painted, Khieu Sopheak said.
“The suspect admitted that his phone was recently painted,” Khieu Sopheak said.
He said the Ministry of Interior is conducting a ballistics test on a K-59 pistol that was found on the suspect.
Om Radsady was killed on Feb 19 as he was leaving a restaurant in Chamkar Mon district. He was shot by a man wielding a K-59 pistol who witnesses said singled him out from among a group of nine Funcinpec officials.
The shooter then escaped on an AX-1 motorcycle being driven by another individual.
Although the authorities have characterized the killing of Om Radsady as a robbery attempt, royalists and observers have called the shooting “a message” and a well-planned assassination attempt with political intentions.
Khieu Sopheak was hesitant to suggest a motive behind the killing on Wednesday and did not label the two suspects currently in custody as robbers.
He could not provide any personal information about the two suspects other than that they are “criminals.”
“I think we need to be patient and wait for a final conclusion,” Funcinpec Secretary-General Prince Norodom Sirivudh said Wednesday.
“But my first impression is that the government and the Ministry of Interior put forth an effort in this case,” the prince said.
Funcinpec security adviser Serey Kosal, however, dismissed the arrests and alleged confessions as false.
“We cannot accept that this is a robbery case because the alleged shooter shot Om Radsady and then went back for the phone—they didn’t get the phone first,” Serey Kosal said. “The police must work more to find the real suspects.”