Vietnamese Embassy Keeping Close Watch on Mob Killing Case

The Vietnamese Embassy said Wednesday that it is closely following the investigation into the mob killing of Nguyen Vann Chean on Saturday, and that embassy representatives were meeting with Cambodian police to monitor their progress in identifying the killers.

“We have been meeting people in the community to find out exactly what happened,” said spokesman Tran Van Thong. “And we are having meetings with Cambodian police who are investigating the case.”

Nguyen Vann Chean, a 28-year-old born to Vietnamese parents in Kompong Chhnang province, was murdered by an angry mob in the aftermath of a minor traffic accident in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district on Saturday night. The clash is believed to have begun when a bystander to the argument—between a group of ethnic Vietnamese who had gone to check out the accident and a group of Cambodians who lived in the area—yelled out, “Yuon fight Khmer.”

Police have arrested and charged Von Chanvutha, 50, who is said to have incited the brutal killing of Nguyen Vann Chean.

Mr. Van Thong said that the embassy condemned any racism and violence and demanded a thorough investigation to find those responsible for Nguyen Vann Chean’s death. Witnesses said the mob numbered as many as 20.

“This kind of violence can not be allowed to happen again,” Mr. Van Thong said. “The Cambodian police must find those responsible.”

The ruling CPP on Tuesday said that the opposition CNRP could be blamed for the death, citing its frequent anti-Vietnamese rhetoric.

Asked Wednesday if any third party was to blame for the killing, Mr. Van Thong answered diplomatically.

“There is a group of ultra-nationalists, and Cambodian people know who they are. It is not necessary for me to name the political group.”

Meanchey district penal police chief Kong Samorn said Wednesday that five witnesses to the murder had been identified, but declined to give further details.

(Additional reporting by Eang Mengleng)

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