Village Chief Sought in Girl’s Killing Arrested

Police in Phnom Penh on Mon­day arrested a village chief who is wanted in the killing of a 16-year-old girl at the Chhup rubber plantation in Kompong Cham prov­ince, officials said.

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said po­lice apprehended Nguon Oun at 8 am after securing a search warrant Sunday evening from the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

The owner of the private residence where Nguon Oun had been hiding out cooperated fully with the arresting officers, Khieu Sopheak said. He declined to identify the homeowner.

Chan Soveth, an Adhoc investigator, said Monday that Nguon Oun “was arrested this morning at Mok Kim Hong’s house. [Mok Kim Hong] is the director of the rubber plantation and the suspect’s uncle.”

Once in custody, Nguon Oun con­fessed to killing Khoun Dina, but said he had aimed his AK-47 rifle only at the ground and sky, Khieu Sopheak said.

Not having interviewed the suspect himself, Khieu Sopheak said, he could not account for Khoun Dina being shot in the back.

Nonetheless, Khieu Sopheak denied charges levied by some rights groups that the killing was politically motivated.

Buy Chum Sovannaly, a lawyer with the Cambodia Defenders Project who is representing the victim’s family, disagreed.

“Don’t believe it,” he said. Buy Chum Sovannaly said Monday he has witnesses’ accounts of the chief hunting down Khoun Dina.

Khoun Dina was the daughter of Chan Mony, a Sam Rainsy Party activist who, according to Hu­man Rights Watch, had been ha­rassed by local authorities since publicly complaining of fraud at the July 27 polls.

Human Rights Watch and the Cambodian Human Rights Ac­tion Committee also charged that Nguon Oun threatened to shoot Chan Mony’s son and beat another daughter of his a few days be­fore shooting Khoun Dina.

Most parties agree that Khoun Dina and five friends were collecting scrap latex at the Chhup plantation on Aug 6 when Nguon Oun chased them down on his motorcycle.


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