Suspects Arrested in Killing of Court Clerk

The suspected killer of an Appeals Court clerk confessed on Thursday that he was paid just $100 to gun down his target in Phnom Penh early last month.

Murder suspect Suy Hear, 29, and two other men were arrested by municipal police on Wednes­day in connection with the slaying of court clerk Chhim Dara, who was shot in the head in Rus­sei Keo district on April 7.

Paraded before journalists at Phnom Penh Municipal Police head­quarters, Suy Hear said he was hired to carry out the killing by a friend of the brother-in-law of his victim.

“I did it for the money. The victim was not my enemy. I did it for money to support my living conditions,” Suy Hear told reporters.

Soung Nginly, 31, the brother-in-law of the slain court clerk, and his friend, Phim Kun, 27, were also arrested in connection with the kil­ling. Phim Kun confessed on Thurs­day to setting up the contract ki­lling as a favor for Soung Nginly.

Soung Nginly denied any knowledge of plans to kill his brother-in-law.

“I didn’t know [Phim Kun] hired the killer to kill my brother-in-law,” Soung Nginly told repor­ters.

Soung Nginly said his relationship with his brother-in-law, Chhim Dara, was tense as a re­sult of having to live in a cramped apartment with both their wives near Phsar Olympic.

Soung Nginly said he complained about the situation to his friend, Phim Kun, who later took matters into his own hands and organized the contract killing.

Phim Kun did not dispute that version of events, adding only that “he wanted to help,” Soung Nginly.

Briefing reporters, Deputy Municipal Police Chief Heng Pov said police were now con­cen­trating their efforts to catch the killers of judge Sok Sethamony, the two men who assassinated a Chinese woman last week in Phnom Penh and the hit men who targeted the president of a Buddhist meditation center in Feb­ruary.

Though not drawing any links between the recent wave of assassinations and politically motivated crime, Heng Pov said that overall, crime was down from the same period leading to the general elections in 1993 and 1998.

“If we compare with both [elections] in the past, we are still lower,” Heng Pov said.

Police also arrested two men involved in a shooting incident with municipal court Prosecutor Ngeth Sarath in April, Heng Pov said.

Seven other men arrested for robbery, illegal weapons use and ve­hicle theft were also presented at the news conference at the po­lice headquarters, which is broadcast weekly on national television.

Heng Pov said all the suspects will be delivered to the court on Friday, including alleged car thief Prum Ton, 26, who was arrested last year by police for similar crimes but released by court officials after spending only three weeks in prison.

Heng Pov—who has in the past railed against corrupt court officials—said Prum Ton was arrested again on Wednesday while stealing vehicles.

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