The US Embassy has condemned Friday’s killing of pro-SRP newspaper journalist Khim Sambor and his 21-year-old son, Khat Sarinpheata, and stated that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation is ready to assist with the case if the government desires.
In a statement issued Monday evening, the US Embassy wrote that it was echoing the appeals of Information Minister Khieu Kanharith for “all competent authorities to take necessary measures in order to bring the perpetrators to justice.”
“The FBI, through the US Embassy, stands ready to provide assistance, if requested by the Cambodian government, in investigating the case,” the statement continued.
The embassy added that it was concerned that the attack, in conjunction with Sunday’s acid attack on CPP Secretary of State Ngor Srun, might undermine “citizens’ confidence in their ability to fully participate in the electoral process in safety and security.”
US Embassy spokesman John Johnson said by telephone Monday evening that FBI assistance was offered in this case because the recently opened FBI legal attache office at the embassy made it possible to do so. He reiterated that the FBI would only give its assistance if requested by the Cambodian government.
Municipal police chief Touch Naruth said Monday that police are working hard to determine who killed Khim Sambor and Khat Sarinpheata.
The effort is causing a collective “headache” for police, he said, as they try to determine the identity and motive of the motorbike-riders who shot the two men Friday evening near Olympic Stadium.
“Our police are burning both our hands and legs to find out the [gunmen’s identities], but we take time for our investigation,” Touch Naruth said, adding that there are no suspects yet.
Khim Sambor, who wrote investigative reports for the SRP-affiliated Moneaksekar Khmer newspaper, is the 12th journalist to be slain in Cambodia since the country’s first democratic election in 1993, according to the Cambodian Center for Independent Media. None of the cases has been solved, said a statement released by the group Monday, urging authorities to make arrests.
The Club of Cambodian Journalists, a 200-member organization, also called for swift and strict justice in a statement issued Saturday.