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Two Held in Murder of Rights Activist

Stung Treng provincial police said Friday they were holding two suspects in the murder of a rights activist who was shot Wednesday night in Stung Treng province.

Seng Sarom, 45, an investigator for the rights group Adhoc who also followed forestry and fisheries issues, was killed by an attacker who fired through the floorboards of the victim's stilt house, the Cambodia Daily reported.

Provincial Police Chief Nguon Koeun said two suspects were being questioned about a dispute over the buying and selling of a boat, which may have led to the attack.

"A few days ago, they were at odds over the question of where the suspect got the boat and sold it to the deceased," he said. "We have received the information about the dispute, but not about other issues."

Ad Hoc investigator Chan Saveth said the boat dispute was a years-old trifle. The murder may have links to Seng Sarom's work in the issues of forests and fisheries, he said.

The two sectors are rife with corruption and syndicate control.

Adhoc lead investigator Ny Chariya did not dismiss the police's preliminary theories.

Saran Seng, one of the victim's seven children, said he didn't know of any grudges against his father, but that police would do "whatever they want to."

The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee issued a statement Friday condemning the killing.