Funcinpec officials are claiming that the slaying of a party information officer in Pursat province Tuesday was politically motivated, coming one day after party President Prince Norodom Ranariddh visited the region.
But police on Thursday disputed both the motive behind the slaying and the man’s identity as a Funcinpec member.
Details are sketchy about the slaying, which happened in Char village, Kandieng district, Pursat, just north of the provincial town about 105 km northwest of Phnom Penh.
Chan Vichet, 40, identified by Funcinpec officials as an information officer, was shot to death at 9:30 pm Tuesday by three men who police say they have identified and will arrest soon.
The victim worked at the provincial level for Funcinpec, disseminating national party news to Pursat members, Tol Lah, party secretary-general, said Thursday.
“We strongly believe that this is a political assassination because the man is very active [in Funcinpec],” Tol Lah said. “It’s very sad because he is a father of four children.”
Prince Ranariddh, the deposed first prime minister, on Monday visited party headquarters in Pursat town and attended a rally and nearby religious ceremony, Tol Lah said.
Mao Chandara, chief of headquarters for National Police, citing the few details of the murder that have trickled in from provincial authorities, said police believe Chan Vichet’s death relates to his alleged activities as a “witch,” or traditional medicine doctor.
Mao Chandara speculated that a client was upset by Chan Vichet’s prescription. In addition, police found a CPP membership card in the victim’s possession, Mao Chandara said.
Chan Vichet in the 1980s was a soldier in the resistance Sihanoukist National Army and lived in Ta Tum camp on the northern border with Thailand, Funcinpec officials said.
He was repatriated in 1993 to Pursat from the border camps in Thailand, they said.