Wednesday, July 13, 2016
A cold blooded murder of a prominent analyst, Dr. Kem Ley, and its ramifications
The cold blood murder of a prominent analyst, Dr. Kem Ley, has sent a shock wave throughout the country and Cambodian communities around the world. Many people have expressed their angers, sadness, sorrow, regret and disbelief. Dr. Kem Ley is the most courageous analyst who unveiled all social and political issues that the country and the people are facing: border issue, illegal immigrants, land concession, deforestation, and especially corruption involved with Hun Sen's clan in which the Global Witness has just released. After analyzing the report related to Hun Sen's Family corruption, he was gunned down by a suspect who is more likely a hired killer or a staged killer since his primary confession was not well connected to real situation. And more evidently, the circumstance and time of killing raised more doubt among journalists and the public. Based on sources from Facebook and other independent news, the gas station known as Star Mart was cut off electricity. First, based on one witness who wrote on Facebook, when his family and he went into that shop before Mr. Kem Ley was in, the shop workers told him that there was no electricity and their coffee maker broke, then they just walked out to other shop. But when Mr. Kem Ley came in later they had coffee available for him. Another source said the shop employees saw more than one killer, but they dared not to witness them for their safety reason, and they claimed the electricity was cut off after shooting. However, security cameras had recorded the whole event. Then police took them all without releasing any thing yet; they might cut or erase some important evidences before releasing. Secondly, the shooter shot Mr. Kem ley 2-3 meters away; why did the shooter stain with blood on his face and shirt? Thirdly, the killer accused Mr. kem Ley that he had owed him $3,000, but his claim was totally rejected by Mr. Kem Ley's wife and her brother. Fourth, the suspect could not afford to buy a modern and expensive gun to shoot the victim. The suspect never knew or had any connection with Mr. Kem Ley, and he is very poor and broke because he lost gambling, according to his wife and his mother's account. Based on this primary information along with current political situation, and a pattern of assassination of many activists and the others in the past, this murder is most likely politically motivated, and the suspect is more likely a staged or fake killer who had been hired to act to cover up the real killers.
Since the UN-sponsored election in 1993, political assassinations had happened throughout the country, particularly prior and during election campaigns, and it also happened at any time when political situation is vulnerable such as a massacre on Sam Rainsy Party rally in 1997 followed by a bloody coup that more than hundred people were killed and other hundreds more wounded. Then the 1998 and 2013 post election crisis that led to the government crackdown on protesters scored hundred more deaths and wounded. Also assassination on individual has continued one by one-- many journalists, movie and singer stars, union, human right, and environment activists along with opposition politicians. So far, none of the dead and wounded people have received justice yet while the killers are free to kill more if they need to do so. Dr. Kem Ley's assassination has similar pattern to a number of murder cases in the past. The point is when the victims dared to criticize the regime or did thing that was viewed as a threat to prime minister Hun Sen's power, his family members, and cronies, they were gunned down or imprisoned mercilessly. Dr. Kem Ley was on Hun Sen's black list for years since he is the most courageous analyst who has unveiled all issues related to Hun Sen's rule. Especially, he unveiled corruption network of Hun Sen regime that strongly supported by Global Witness reported just three day before his murder.
Although a pattern of the past murder cases are similar since they have never found the killers to justice, Dr. Kem Ley's murder case breaks the pattern because this time, the killer was quickly caught along with gun on his hand and his face and shirt was soaked with a victim blood. It looks like the suspect struggled with the victim before the victim died. In fact, the victim died instantly after at least three shots were fired by the suspect about 2-3 meters away according witnesses. Now even if the suspect was on the hands of police, hundreds of question have been raised. Did the suspect act alone? Is the money dispute confessed by the suspect true? Did the suspect hired or staged by some one else? Who is behind this cruel murder? For what reason? We let our readers answer all these questions and make their own judgment based on facts and pattern of the past murder cases. However, we can give our short but clear answer to all these questions. There is no doubt that Hun Sen was behind this assassination. Because three days after Global Witness reported about Hun's family business empire involved with 114 companies worth over $200 millions on the registration while they estimated from $500 millions to $1 billion were unaccounted because they used different names or lack of transparency. Along with this report, Dr. Kem Ley added more about how the business corruption was operated in network of Hun Sen family members and cronies.
Meanwhile, we saw some unusual events, usually Hun Sen reacts to all criticisms angrily and arrogantly even small or big criticism from inside or outside the country. And typically, after his reactions, bad events or punishment would happen: in 2003, less than 12 hours, after Hun Sen angrily commented about Thai Movie Star, Pkay Preuk, Thai embassy and businesses in Phnum Penh were burnt down by angry mobs. 24 hours after his comment about protest against him in New York and Paris, violent mobs beat up two CNRP's MP without police intervention then fallowed by removing Kem Sokha from vice president post of parliament. Then less than 12 hours after his reaction to Sam Rainsy's Speeches in Tokyo and Seoul, Cambodian court issued an arrest warrant for Sam Rainsy forced him to flee the country in exile for his third time. For Senator Hong Sok Hour and Oum Som Ann, Hun Sen ordered to arrest them without lifting their immunity protected by the constitution. But this time, Hun Sen is unusually quiet, no reaction or mention about Global Witness or Dr. Kem Ley's comment, though some of his children came to defend him and family reputation. Then Dr. Kem Ley was gunned down mercilessly in the morning when he walked into their designated target of assassination.
Then Hun Sen pretended to condemn Dr. Kem Ley's murder as crewel and ordered his police to investigate thoroughly. It just reminds us that when he came from Paris, he immediately condemned the barbaric attack on two CNRP's MP and called for the suspect to turn themselves over to the authority. However, only three of attackers were turned themselves in while many are at large. Then the court handled their verdicts for only four months each in jail. Now all eyes turn on Hun Sen again; how would he handle Dr. Kem Ley's murder case? He may use a strategy of one arrow kills two birds. In this scenario, Hun Sen will force this fake or staged killer to link himself with CNRP's members and more arrest warrant will issue for those he has targeted. Now the pro-CPP media--Fresh News, Cambodia Express, CamNews...started to propagandize that the suspect was hired to be Kem Sokha's bodyguard and brought to Phnom Penh three days before he killed Dr. Kem Ley. Thus, all CNRP's MPs and activists should be more vigilant and watch out. It recalls Hun Sen's tactic in 1997, when he ordered his bodyguards to toss two grenades into Sam Rainsy Party peaceful rally, killing at least 16 people and wounded over one hundreds people; then Hun Sen accused the attackers were the members of the Sam Rainsy Party, and threatened to arrest Sam Rainsy too though overwhelm evident pointed out to Hun Sen's bodyguards, released by FBI.
Now as political atmosphere is heating up when Hun Sen has staged Kem Sokha's sex scandal then he stuck in it couldn't find the way out. And Dr. Kem Ley's assassination just pushes the current political situation even more complicated. In his current tactic, Hun Sen may want to take down both Kem Ley and Kem Sokha at the same time: by linking Kem Ley's murder case to Kem Sokha bodyguards then arrest Kem Sokha as an accomplice. It's a scary tactic if Hun Sen executes this plan. Nevertheless, Hun Sen can't do it without risk since most people as well as the international community are watching closely how Hun Sen handles Dr. Kem Ley's murder case. As most people already pointed their fingers at Hun Sen as a person of interest who was behind Dr. Kem Ley's assassination, any linking this murder case to CNRP's members or leaders will draw backlash from the people, Dr. Kem Ley family, and the international community. Or in order to save his face, Hun Sen may order his court to convict this sole hired killer to a certain time in jail or to drag this case on as Chea Vichea' case and many other murder cases which have been waiting for justices for years. Don't expect Hun Sen's court will find true justice for Dr. Kem Ley's murder case; the same result will happen as many previous ones unless the current regime changed. Whenever, the current regime changed, the iron curtain would open to the public about secrecy of the CPP, and the people would know who were behind all the murder cases that have demanded for justices for years.