A top Funcinpec police general was gunned down by two uniformed men Wednesday morning in Phnom Penh, while one bystander was killed and another critically injured, according to police and a human-rights worker.
Brigadier General Kim Sang, chief of Cambodia’s naval police, was shot while driving his car on a side street near Pochentong Boulevard in Russei Keo district at about 7:30 am, one hour before the start of the high-profile trial of deposed first prime minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh, according to Tim Prosar, Russei Keo district police chief.
The gunmen were wearing police uniforms and black caps and rode a motorcycle, according to the rights worker.
The two were waiting in ambush for the general on the street when he left for work, the rights worker said.
“That fact that he was ambushed by people wearing police uniforms and shot by them on a busy street shows that the gunmen had protection [from higher authorities],” the rights worker commented.
The gunmen opened fire on Kim Sang’s car with AK-47s as he was leaving for work, forcing it to stop, according to police. They then shot the general—once execution-style to the head, then two more rounds to the chest and hand, according to Tim Prosar.
The human-rights worker, who examined the body, said he was unsure of the sequence of the bullet wounds but said Kim Sang was shot in the head “at close range.”
As the car crashed, it struck and killed Y Sieng, a 54-year-old bystander, and slightly injured a 6-year-old girl, according to police and the rights worker.
An 18-year-old woman was struck in the abdomen by a stray bullet and taken to Kossamak Hospital, where, according to the rights worker, a doctor demanded $200 from her family to perform an operation.
Rights workers found her at noon bleeding on her bed. She was transferred to another hospital and was later said to be in stable condition, the rights worker said.
Kim Sang was taken to Kossamak Hospital and pronounced dead on arrival, according to Tim Prosar.
Kim Sang was a cousin of Kieng Vang, a Funcinpec parliamentarian and a secretary of state at the Ministry of Interior.
“This killing is politically motivated,” Kieng Vang told Deutsche Presse-Agentur. “Kim Sang has never had a quarrel or dispute with anyone in the ministry.”
Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak said police are investigating the case as a murder, but did not have a motive.
“At this time, we can say it is a criminal investigation,” he said. “It’s too early to conclude that it’s political or non-political.”
One longtime European observer expressed outrage at the apparent execution. “This is really appalling, and it is no coincidence that this happened on the same day as the trial of Prince Ranariddh,” he said.
“It might also be a message to the prince: Do not come back or you will be shot. This is such a strong message,” he added.
The rights worker said Kim Sang was close to resistance General Nhiek Bun Chhay and was involved in the factional fighting July 5 and 6.
Lu Laysreng, an aide to Prince Ranariddh, described Kim Sang as a loyal member of Funcinpec.
Kim Sang is survived by a wife and two children. The funeral is expected to take place this morning.
(Additional reporting by Saing Soenthrith and Jeff Hodson)
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