Woman Arrested for Selling Explosives to Hotel Bombers Arrested

Officials have arrested a 42-year-old woman who police say sold explosives used in bombs that tore through two Phnom Penh hotels last year, killing three and wounding 11 others.

Authorities have charged Ban Thavry, of Toekla commune, Russei Keo district, with terrorism and membership in an armed group for her alleged role in the July 4 bombings of the Hong Kong and Favour hotels in Phnom Penh, municipal po­lice information bureau chief Pol Da­vy said.

Police allege Ban Thavry is a weap­ons dealer in Toek Thla com­mune—a well-known underground market for black market weap­onry—and sold 20 kg of TNT powder and a detonator to the men responsible for planning and executing the bombings, Pol Davy said.

The blasts, which went off minutes apart in the neighboring ho­tels on Monivong Boulevard, killed police officer Kim Veng Leang, 30, Favour Hotel em­ploy­ees Kim Hout, also 30, and Chhun Sakhon.

At the time, police said the at­tackers were trying extort money from the hotel owners. Each ho­tel got a phone call from a person who claimed to represent a group cal­led “Maria” and who demanded hundreds of thousands of dollars.

So far, six people, in­clud­ing Ban Thavry, have been charged in the blasts. Former RCAF sold­iers Chreik Mao, 31, Rin Sothy, 30, Rin Savuth, 22, Koeut Sinoun, 31, and Ouk Sa­thya, 41, are all charged in the bomb­ings.

But the mastermind remains at large, Pol Davy said Thursday afternoon. Authorities have is­sued a warrant for that man’s ar­rest.

Ban Thavry confessed to selling the dynamite and detonators to the group, but said she did not know what the men were using it for, Pol Davy said.

The arrests have brought some emotional relief, but the bombings’ victims are still uneasy as long as the ringleader is free, Favour Hotel owner Thav Kim­long, whose brother-in-law was Kim Hout, said.

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