No arrests have been made in the Monday night grenade attack that killed one and injured eight at an amusement park in central Phnom Penh, police said late Tuesday afternoon.
Ek Kreth, deputy inspector for the judicial police who is heading the investigation, confirmed that one grenade exploded.
“No one has been arrested,” Ek Kreth said.
Police officials said they had not determined the motive of the attack.
“We cannot say now whether this was a personal dispute or politically motivated,” Khuon Sophan, Phnom Penh penal police chief, said Tuesday afternoon.
The grenade exploded at about 8 pm Monday less than 15 meters from a merry-go-round near Hun Sen Park, witnesses said. A 19-year-old woman, Chan Pich Reasey, died soon after being taken to Calmette Hospital.
Several witnesses had seen two men arguing near the sight of the blast, said a human rights worker who investigated the case Tuesday. However, no one apparently had seen the grenade thrown, the rights worker said, adding that the cause of the dispute also could not be determined.
Rumors circulated Tuesday that there had been arrests of opposition party members, but the reports could not be confirmed. Police said they were untrue.
The rumors may have been sparked by a Tuesday morning press conference called by the Ministry of Interior with Mol Roeup, military adviser to Second Prime Minister Hun Sen. Journalists were told the conference at the Ministry of Information would be about the grenade attack. But the conference was canceled at the last minute.
One government official told The Associated Press that the press conference would “show who is the mastermind.”
Pro-CPP newspaper Koh Santepheap (Island of Peace) reported that two had been arrested and cited unnamed sources as saying a prominent party leader who named his party after himself was behind the attack, an apparent reference to politician Sam Rainsy.
Mol Roeup, who is also in charge of RCAF military intelligence, denied Tuesday he was to take part in the press conference, but confirmed he was investigating the crime.
Four victims of the grenade attack remain at Calmette Hospital. The most seriously wounded, Ney Puth Mony, a 32-year-old member of the air force, underwent surgery Tuesday afternoon. A hospital administrator said Ney Puth Mony survived the surgery, but he did not know his exact condition.
Mich Kim Phiv, a 45-year-old motorbike taxi driver, had also undergone surgery and was in poor condition, said his older brother at the hospital, adding that his family had $300 in hospital bills. “We are very poor,” he said. “I don’t know where we’re going to get the money to pay the hospital.”
Two other motorbike taxi drivers, 24-year-old Mov Dara and 26-year-old Pol Sarith, and Sous Yun, 26, a fruit seller, were in the hospital in good condition, according to relatives. The three other victims did not seek treatment at a hospital, police said.
First Prime Minister Ung Huot condemned the attack in a statement on Tuesday and called for immediate measures to investigate the case.
“This barbarous act seriously affects the efforts made by the government and the international community in building political stability….It also affects the environment to hold a free, fair and just election on July 26,” the statement said.
(Additional reporting by Kim Chan and Lor Chandara)
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