CAMBODIAN PREMIER�S NEPHEW FACES MURDER CHARGES


2003-11-25
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Second nephew sought by police

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A nephew of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen is facing murder charges and another is wanted by police in connection with an October shooting spree that left three people dead, RFA's Khmer service reports.

Nim Sophea, right, in police custody

Nim Sophea, 22, was charged Tuesday in a Phnom Penh court with three counts of murder and multiple traffic violations for allegedly racing through Phnom Penh streets firing an AK-47 rifle Oct. 27, the investigating judge, Heng Thearith, told reporters.

Three people were killed from bullet wounds, and four were injured in traffic accidents. Nim Sophea entered a not guilty plea and will remain in custody, the judge said.

Police arrested Nim Sophea on Monday after a month-long search. Nim Sophea has said he tried to wrestle the gun from another passenger, Than Chamroeun, in an attempt to put a stop to the shootings, his lawyer told reporters.

From left to right: Phnom Penh deputy police commissioner Heng Peou, a police officer and Nim Sophea, suspect in the late October shooting spree Nim Sophea is a son of Hun Sen�s sister, Hun Sinath, a Foreign Ministry official.

Police have also arrested Than Chamroeun and detained him in Prey Sar prison.

The court has also issued a warrant for Nim Chantana, a younger brother of Nim Sophea and another of Hun Sen's nephews, as well as another man named Sovan. Both are alleged to have taken part in the car race and the shooting spree.

Phnom Penh deputy police chief Heng Peou reported separately that the Cambodian capital had become unsafe, citing several incidents overnight in which three alleged robbers and one police officer were killed.#####

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