A village chief wanted in the shooting death of a teenage girl in Kompong Cham province’s Chhup Rubber Plantation Co is on the run from police, and some human rights workers are calling the crime politically motivated.
Kompong Cham provincial Police Chief Kang Sokhorn said Sunday that Nguon Oun, chief of the village known as Sixty-seven, went after at least six village girls who were collecting leftover rubber in Tbong Khmum district’s Thmar Pich commune Wednesday afternoon.
“He probably shot into the air, but accidentally hit Khuon Dina and she died. He rode his motorcycle away with the AK-47 rifle when he the knew the girl died,” Kang Sokhorn said.
The human rights group Licadho reported that earlier in the day Nguon Oun had pointed his rifle at two boys and asked if they were the sons of Chan Mony, a Sam Rainsy Party activist.
According to Licadho, the village chief told the boys that Chan Mony would be killed. The boys said they were not his sons and were allowed to leave.
Khuon Dina, 16, was the daughter of Chan Mony.
A human rights worker said that, although the collection of rubber scraps from the plantation is not allowed, it is common.
Nguon Oun “should have arrested [Khuon Dina] because he is the authority. He should not have rode his motorcycle, shooting at them like that,” the human rights worker said.
The rights worker added that Nguon Oun, a CPP member, knew the girl’s father well. “It is probably a political dispute,” the human rights worker said.
The rights worker said Nguon Oun is reputed to have a financial interest in the Chhup plantation.
District Deputy Governor Som Saing of the CPP said the motive for the killing is unknown. Tith Sothy, provincial court director, said an arrest warrant for Nguon Oun could be issued as early as today.
(Additional reporting by Porter Barron)