Popular Political Analyst Kem Ley Shot Dead

Kem Ley, a popular political commentator and frequent critic of Prime Minister Hun Sen, was shot dead at a Phnom Penh gas station on Sunday morning, according to military police.

Eng Hy, spokesman for the National Military Police, said Kem Ley was identified by officers at the scene.

Police officers inspect the scene of prominent political analyst Kem Ley’s murder at a gas station in Phnom Penh on Sunday morning. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
Police officers inspect the scene of prominent political analyst Kem Ley’s murder at a gas station in Phnom Penh on Sunday morning. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

“According to reports we just received, it’s Kem Ley,” he said. “He is dead.”

Mr. Hy declined to answer further questions about the case.

Officers at the scene—a convenience shop at the Caltex gas station at the intersection of Monivong and Mao Tse Toung boulevards—said the shooting happened at about 9 a.m. and that the shooter had fled the scene.

Kirth Chantharith, spokesman for the National Police, said at about 10:30 a.m. that officers had already arrested a man over the shooting.

“Police made an arrest immediately after the shooting happened,” he said, declining to give any further information.

A longtime analyst of Cambodia’s fractious political scene, Kem Ley founded the grassroots Khmer for Khmer advocacy group in 2014 with the aim of helping spark the formation of localized political parties across the country.

The Grassroots Democracy Party was formed by his colleagues the following year, but Kem Ley himself disavowed any personal political ambitions of his own. He had continued to regularly appear on the radio and in the press to discuss political issues of the day.

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