One Seen Lobbed Onto the Grounds; Neither Detonated
One grenade was thrown at the home of Justice Minister Chem Snguon in Prampi Makara district Thursday morning, and a second one was found later in the day. Neither of the grenades exploded, police said.
“We cannot yet say if this is a personal dispute or politically motivated,” said Chhin Chanpor, municipal military police chief.
Chem Snguon, a CPP member, was campaigning in Svay Rieng province, according to Agence France-Presse.
Srey Kosal, a driver for the minister’s son-in-law, saw one of the grenades come over the compound’s wall at about 8:20 am, he said. While investigating the case, police found a second Chinese-made grenade outside the compound, according to Deputy Penal Police Chief Doung Sunchantha.
The rings of the grenades were pulled off, but the pins did not come out. Doung Sunchantha speculated that the perpetrators were either rushed or did not know how to use them properly.
“My father-in-law was not home, but there is no doubt it was an attempt to threaten him,” Chem Snguon’s son-in-law, Sum Kim San, said at the house.
Family members said Chem Snguon has many enemies.
“Of course, he is the minister of Justice,” Sum Kim San told The Associated Press. “For every 50 friends he has, he also has 50 enemies.”
Chhim Symony, Prampi Makara district police chief, said authorities have many suspects.
He added there is no evidence to link the attack to the recent suspension of four military police officers in connection with the beating and re-arrest of two government officials at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court last month. Chem Snguon had complained about the case to the two prime ministers, which led to the suspension of all four officers and the arrest of two of them.
Colonels Oung Depor and Ouk Mara were arrested July 2 for allegedly ignoring court summonses, but were released a day later after Defense co-Minister Tea Banh intervened in the case. The other two officers, Ek Vannak and Brak Vanny, are still at large.
“There are no conclusions whether or not this is personal or political,” Chhim Symony added. “We have no evidence to say if this is involved with the removal of the four military police.”
The attack was the second grenade incident in Phnom Penh this week in the politically tense days leading up to the July 26 election.
One grenade exploded in a crowded amusement park Monday evening, killing one and injuring eight. Police have no suspects.
A human rights organization said several witnesses saw two men arguing near the scene of the explosion. But no one had seen the grenade thrown.
Russian and Chinese-made hand grenades are a cheap and easily available weapon found in the city’s black markets, experts have said.