A Change of Guard

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Sunday, 10 July 2016

Kem Ley: Cambodian political analyst shot dead in Phnom Penh shop



Cambodian political analyst Kem Ley at ABC International's studio in Melbourne

Cambodian political analyst Kem Ley at ABC International's studio in Melbourne
PHOTO: Kem Ley was an outspoken critic of both sides of Cambodian politics. (ABC: Alex Khun)


A prominent Cambodian political analyst known for his strong criticism of the Government has been shot dead in the capital, Phnom Penh.

Kem Ley, the head of a grassroots advocacy group Khmer for Khmer, was shot three times at a convenience store, police said.

Police spokesman Kirt Chantharith said Kem Ley was shot dead while drinking coffee just before 9:00am local time on Sunday.

A suspect was arrested nearby and confessed to killing the analyst over an unpaid debt, he said.

"But we don't believe him yet. We are working on this case," he said.

Kem Ley's body lay in a pool of blood below a metal table inside the convenience store.

Before long hundreds of onlookers had gathered as police cordoned off the area.

Cambodians gather outside a store where political analyst Kem Ley was shot dead in Phnom Penh.
Cambodians gather outside a store where political analyst Kem Ley was shot dead in Phnom Penh.
PHOTO: Onlookers gathered outside the store where political analyst Kem Ley was shot dead. (AFP: Tang Chhin Sothy)



Local media showed pictures of the alleged suspect being taken into custody. He appeared injured with blood running down the left-hand side of his face.

The killing comes at a time of heightened political tensions between Prime Minister Hun Sen and the country's political opposition, who accuse the Prime Minister of launching a fresh crackdown against them.

Scores of government critics and rights workers have been arrested in recent months while others have been tied up in ongoing legal cases.

Phay Siphan, a Government spokesman, described the assassination as "a vulgar and cruel act that is unacceptable".

"His killing will further deepen the complexity of political situation," he told AFP.
He said all sides of Cambodia's political divide needed to remain calm.

Cambodians gather at the scene of the murder of political analyst Kem Ley.
Cambodians gather at the scene of the murder of political analyst Kem Ley.
PHOTO: The murder of Kem Ley comes at a time of political tension in Cambodia. (AFP: Tang Chhin Sothy)


Kem Ley was critical of both the Government and opposition parties, advocating for a new era of clean politics in a notoriously corrupt nation which is scheduled to hold a general election in 2018.

But the bulk of his criticism was aimed at Hun Sen's administration, having most recently commented on a report by anti-corruption pressure group Global Witness.

The report, which accused the Prime Minister and his family of having amassed a multi-million-dollar business empire, has been dismissed as personal propaganda by a government spokesman.

AFP/Reuters

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this is why the evil in power does not want people to own gun... he would have been able to defend himself should he have a gun with him...People around the world have been brainwashed that their gov will protect them , but who will protect the people from their own gov.

the story is the same every where gun is bad [ gun kill , let us the government take it away from you to protect you , of course] , gun does not kill, period ... people do . gun would have been no different than a butcher knife , a cleaver or sword .