July 11, 2016

Political Analyst Kem Ley Killed

Mr. Kem Ley was gunned down while having a coffee at a Mini-mart on Sunday morning. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Khmer Times Sunday, 10 July 2016

Prominent independent social researcher Kem Ley was shot dead by a gunman on Sunday morning about 9.30am at a mini-mart in Phnom Penh’s Chamkar Mon district, local police said.

According to a Khmer Times reporter at the scene, witnesses said Mr. Ley, 45, was drinking coffee at the Caltex service station’s mini-mart in Chamkar Mon district when a gunman entered the store and fired two shots which killed Mr. Ley. The gunman then fled.

One shot hit Mr. Ley in the head and the other struck his back.

“After the shooting, the gunman ran to a man waiting on a motorbike outside the mart, but the man rode away without the gunman,” the witnesses said. “Then the gunman tried to run after the motorbike but failed to get on.”

The witnesses said the gunmen then ran to the Chamkar Mon intersection, where police arrested him.

According to police, the gunman was arrested after police spotted him with blood on his shirt and then the gunman confessed he had shot Mr. Ley, claiming Mr. Ley owed him $3,000.

Police named the gunman as Tit Samol, 33, who worked in Thailand.

Choun Sovann, the Phnom Penh Police Chief, went to the scene to oversee the investigation. He said the killer had been arrested, but refused to give more details.

More than 300 supporters of Mr. Ley gathered at the scene, many of them in tears.

Mr. Ley was a well-known independent social researcher. He was educated in Thailand and Malaysia. He had been working as a researcher on issues ranging from health to agriculture and had been a political analyst and outspoken critic of the government.

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