The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Saturday charged five Cambodian suspects arrested in connection with a grenade explosion earlier this month, a day after three Vietnamese nationals accused of colluding with them were charged, court officials said on Sunday.
The five—Bun Pheakdey, 32; Bou Sopheap, 25; Sak Mab, 36; Nou Samban, 33; and alleged ringleader Sok Kimly, 41—were charged with premeditated murder by Investigating Judge Nuo Veasna, according to municipal court spokesman Ly Sophana, while the Vietnamese suspects—Chang Thi Ve, 46; Le Dang Dong, 47; and Ni Soi Binh, 36—were charged with attempted murder.
Onlookers and officials stand in front of a pickup truck damaged by a grenade blast on Street 163 in Phnom Penh’s Chamkar Mon district earlier this month. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)“Ms. Sok Kimly was charged with initiating premeditated murder and the other [Cambodians] were charged with premeditated murder,” said Mr. Sophana, who declined to divulge any information about the evidence brought against the accused, who face up to life in prison if they are found guilty.
Judge Veasna could not be reached on Sunday.
The charge of premeditated murder is defined in the Criminal Code as a “plan conceived beforehand to make an attempt against the person of the victim,” and does not require the victim to die. The grenade blast on September 6 injured at least three people.
Pal Sothy, deputy chief of the Interior Ministry’s penal police department, said all eight suspects were now in provisional detention at Prey Sar prison.
Mr. Sothy reiterated that police believed the motivation for the September attack, which occurred on Street 163 in Chamkar Mon district, stemmed from a love affair.
After originally stating that the intended target was a Vietnamese man who had been wounded by the explosion, officials on Friday said it was in fact a man named Ea Lyhour, who owns a motorbike accessory store just meters from the blast site, but was not injured.
Municipal police chief Chuon Sovann said on Friday that Ms. Kimly had hired another suspect, Mr. Binh, to gun down Mr. Lyhour days before the grenade attack, but the hit was unsuccessful.
Mr. Lyhour declined to comment when he was approached by reporters at his shop on Friday, and Mr. Sothy refused to elaborate on the claims on Sunday.
National Police spokesman Kirth Chantharith initially said the blast was the work of a “political group” that “intended to cause social turmoil” and claimed officials were searching for two men who passed on motorbikes seconds before the explosion.
On Friday, however, he denied ever having made the suggestion.
“I said maybe there were other problems, but I did not categorically state that it was political,” he said.
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