Home > Local News, Politic, Sam Rainsy > SRP claims ‘political’ murder

SRP claims ‘political’ murder

One man was arrested yesterday following the beating death of a Sam
Rainsy Party commune official in Kandal province, amid competing claims
from police and the opposition party over whether the killing was
politically motivated.
The son of murdered SRP commune official Ouk Chhanteak places lighted
incense sticks next to his father’s body yesterday in Kandal province.
Photo by: Pha Lina
The 64-year-old Ouk Chhanteak, second
commune councillor in Kien Svay district’s Chhoeu Teal commune, was
bludgeoned to death at around 10pm on Wednesday evening as he returned
home from patrolling the area, SRP officials said. His body was
reportedly dumped roughly one kilometre from the site where he was
attacked, with his motorbike, camera and telephone having been stolen.

Kien
Svay district police chief Pa Sam Eth said yesterday that one of three
suspects in the case had been arrested yesterday afternoon, adding that
police believe the incident was a robbery that was unrelated to
politics.

“The suspect we arrested already admitted in front of
us that he and another two men really robbed the victim for his
motorbike,” Pa Sam Eth said. “Now we know the identities of the other
two and we are investigating to arrest them.”

The SRP alleged,
however, that the murder was connected to Ouk Chhanteak’s work on behalf
of the opposition. “The murder was related to [a] political case
because Mr Ouk Chhantak was the most popular SRP second commune
councillor in his commune and would become a commune chief in [the]
upcoming commune election [in] 2012,” the SRP cabinet said in a
statement yesterday.

“The Sam Rainsy Party would like to appeal to the authorities at all levels to take action to arrest the murderers.”

Chan
Cheng, an SRP lawmaker representing Kandal, said Ouk Chhanteak had
always “worked to serve the people without taking money”.

“Three
days before his murder, he said the SRP was not worried about the
upcoming election because he will be elected commune chief,” Chan Cheng
said. “He is very popular in Chhoeu Teal commune.”

Chan Cheng
added that Ouk Chhanteak’s killers had not removed a pair of rings from
his fingers, expressing doubt that the case was a simply a violent
theft. But Pa Sam Eth said the missing motorbike was clear evidence of a
robbery, dismissing Chan Cheng’s allegations.

“It is his right
to say that, but based on our assessment, we see that this case is a
robbery,” Pa Sam Eth said. “We are not indifferent and we are going to
find the murderers.”

Men Makara, an investigator based in Kandal
for the local rights group Adhoc, said an investigation is required
before a determination is made on whether or not the killing was
politically motivated.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SAM RITH

Phnom Penh Post
Categories: Local News, Politic, Sam Rainsy
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