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Party Wants Arrest in Activist’s Murder

The Human Rights Party on Tuesday called on Kampong Cham provincial police to make an arrest in the killing of one of its activists last week.

Sim Net, 48, was shot dead around midnight, March 27, while returning from a party on a quiet provincial back road with his cousin. His cousin was not killed in the shooting, but his motorbike was taken, leading rights investigators and police to suspect a robbery.

However, with no one arrested, political motives cannot be ruled out, HRP President Kem Sokha told VOA Khmer Tuesday.

“We appeal to the authorities to seek the real perpetrator for justice, so that we are able to conclude whether the case was politically motivated or a robbery,” he said.

Kampong Cham’s police chief, Noun Sanim, told VOA Khmer the likely motive was robbery, but police had so far been unable to find the culprit or the motorcycle.

“Our measures now are to further the investigation and find out more information,” he said. “A day after the shooting, we suspected a man. We went to his house, but he had left 30 minutes earlier. We are working on it.”

Human rights investigators from Adhoc and Licadho said the motive was likely robbery.

“I haven’t found this situation to be a political assassination,” Adhoc’s Sim Heang said.

“For now I think it is more like a robbery,” said Bou Vireak, of Licadho. “We can’t say anything yet, but we will follow this issue further.”