Search for Suspect Goes NW

The former economic police officer suspected of shooting a Phnom Penh karaoke singer to death is being sought in Banteay Meanchey province, government officials said Monday.

Ministry of Women’s Affairs staff are investigating leads that the suspect, Sin Kimsan, turned up in the northwestern province after fleeing Phnom Penh shortly after the Feb 2 murder. They are also checking out reports that the suspect has been reassigned to a military police unit in Banteay Meanchey province, despite a warrant for his arrest being issued in July.

According to the warrant, issued July 21 by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, investigating judge Sok Sethmony found that Sin Kimsan “intentionally” killed 19-year-old singer Cheng Srey Pao.

Witnesses say Cheng Sery Pao was killed when she refused Sin Kimsan’s sexual advances following a night of singing at the Mondial Kara­oke Club in central Phnom Penh.

Teng Borany, deputy chief of penal police department at the Mini­stry of Interior, said Monday that Sin Kimsan has not returned to work at the ministry since the shooting six months ago. Teng Borany said he did not know where the suspect was.

The Women’s Affairs Ministry re­ceived a copy of the warrant July 22 and a copy was taken immediately to the Interior Ministry, Under­secretary of State San Arun said Monday.

Sat Salim of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs said Monday that she traveled to Banteay Meanchey province last week to investigate claims Sin Kimsan had been moved from his job with the economic police and was now a military policeman there.

“Last week I went to Banteay Meanchey to bring the arrest warrant and photograph of Sin Kimsan to the military police and the human rights office there….A military police officer looked at the photograph and said he knew him [San Kimsan] a long time,” Sat Salim said, adding that she’s been cooperating with Interior Ministry officials.

Arrest warrants and photographs have been sent also to the Thai and Viet­namese border areas in case Sin Kimsan attem­pts to escape the country, Sat Salim said.

Relatives of the slain star say the two economic policemen who were present at the time of the shooting should be prosecuted.

According to the relative, the family received a telephone offer of $1,000 shortly after the killing to drop the case, with some money to go to district police and the courts, the caller had said.

“I think the suspect [Sin Kimsan] has powerful people supporting him,” the relative said.

“There are two suspects here that the courts did not charge because they feel they did nothing wrong. I want the court to bring charges against these two men because they found their gun at the scene of the murder,” said one relative, who did not want to be named.

According to the relative, the family received a telephone offer of $1,000 shortly after the killing to drop the case, with some money to go to district police and the courts, the caller had said.

“I want an arrest warrant put in the hands of Police General Neth Savoeun. Only he can enforce the warrant as I think the suspect [Sin Kimsan] has powerful people supporting him,” the relative said.

Phnom Penh Police Commis­sioner Neth Savoeun said Mon­day that he would cooperate with provincial authorities to investigate if Sin Kimsan is in hiding in the northwest.

Cheng Lakhana, elder sister of the murdered girl, said Saturday that it has been a struggle for the family to take the case this far. “I am afraid that justice can’t be found despite the warrant now being issued,” said Cheng Lakhana.

Arriving in Phnom Penh from Kompong Cham province, Cheng Srey Pao had worked as a karaoke singer for only 15 days when she was shot to death, her sister said adding, “She was not a taxi girl. She was loyal to her career as a singer.”

 

 

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