Slaying of French Hotel Owner Still a Mystery

Uncertainty hovered Wednesday over the reasons for the brutal Monday night killing of the French owner of the Palm Resort restaurant and hotel in Kandal province.

Tom Vay, deputy provincial po­lice chief, said nothing had been stolen from the bedroom at the re­sort of French national Allan Ro­mag­noli, who was found Tues­day morning with a pillow over his face and wounds to his head and neck inflicted by a meat cleaver.

“This case is not a robbery but a murder, but now we cannot conclude anything,” he said.

According to Tom Vay, all staff members remain at the resort and were being questioned one by one.

“We continue to keep the 17 workers here to get more information. None of the workers had anything against [Romagnoli],” he said, adding that the French Em­bas­sy’s police attache was interrogating a 20-year-old French national who was the only guest at the re­sort at the time of the killing.

Tom Vay reported on Tuesday that that suspect was handed over to the French Embassy.

An old friend of Romagnoli—who asked not to be named—said that a robbery could have ta­ken place since Romagnoli probably kept the money for the workers’ salaries in the safe in his bedroom.

He emphasized that the victim had no enemies and added that Ro­­magnoli had two children in France and a wife who will arrive in Phnom Penh today.

Standing behind closed gates in front of the Palm Resort, local po­lice kept reporters from entering the hotel on National Road 1 in Kien Svay district, saying the in­ves­tigation inside could not be disturbed.

One hotel waitress at the gate said business at the resort had been slow prior to the killing, and some workers had to find new jobs although no one had been fired.

Jean Boris Roux, president of the French-Cambodian Chamber of Commerce, said he did not know anything about the motives behind the killing.

“The death of this man is ab­so­lutely terrible,” he said, though he added that had not known the victim.

The French Embassy was si­lent on the kil­ling again Wednesday, de­clining comment to re­porters.

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