SRP Activist Killed With Ax; Motive Disputed

An SRP activist was chopped to death with an ax Saturday in Siem Reap’s Puok district, officials said Monday.

Rum Thoeut, 41, was returning home by bicycle when he was stopped by a group of people in Prey Chrouk commune, said Sim Sophoan, SRP chief for neighboring Kralanh district, where Rum Thoeut lived.

He was chopped on his face, neck and stomach, Sim Sophoan said. “It was a cruel killing…. His body was covered in blood,” he said.

Sim Sophoan said the killing is politically motivated and related to a long-running feud between Rum Thoeut’s home village of Lboek in Rongkor commune and Preak Dak village in Prey Chrouk commune. That feud boiled over April 15 when a fight broke out at a dance in Preah Dak, he said.

Prey Chrouk CPP commune Chief In Oeum denied that politics played a part and said police have already linked the killing to the feud.

Provincial penal police chief Ou Em said that there was no political motivation behind Saturday’s attack, adding that police are investigating the matter.

However, Poy Pann, Prey Chrouk’s SRP deputy commune chief, claimed political intimidation was the aim of the killing because the assailants had not ta­ken Rum Thoeut’s money or bicycle.

“It was a threat to my party activists before the election,” he said.

Poy Pann said that the SRP had been targeted as of late in the commune with a party sign being confiscated two weeks ago and then destroyed Saturday.

Nou Puthyk, provincial coordinator of the local rights group Licadho, said his organization is investigating the case but hasn’t determined whether it was politically motivated.

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