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Cablegate: Cambodia: Three Anti-Drug Dept Police Guarding Oum

VZCZCXRO9252
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHPF #0962 3400942
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 050942Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0168
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS PHNOM PENH 000962

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP, EAP/MLS, EAP/RSP, AND DRL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV SNAR ASEC PTER CB
SUBJECT: CAMBODIA: THREE ANTI-DRUG DEPT POLICE GUARDING OUM
CHHAY WHEN HE DIED

1. (SBU) On August 21, 2007, OUM Chhay, former advisor to
National Assembly President Heng Samrin, died under
suspicious circumstances while in the custody of Ministry of
Interior (MOI) Cambodian National Police Anti-Drug Department
officials. Oum Chhay appeared to have fallen to his death
out of a second story window at the Department's Phnom Penh
office. The Ministry of Interior maintains the death was a
suicide. However, human rights groups claimed foul and
suspected that the man was pushed to his death. Oum Chhay
was found on his back on the ground beneath the second story
window, apparently having fallen directly on the back of his
head. Doubters of the suicide story have argued that this
position is unlikely for someone who willingly jumped to his
death. The low height of the window -- estimated to be about
15 feet off the ground -- also made the suicide claim suspect.

2. (SBU) Soon after the death, the MOI established an
investigating committee that included the prosecutor of the
Phnom Penh Court, police officials, a doctor, and Oum Chhay's
wife. The investigating committee determined that the death
was suicide. The committee also reported that three police
officers were on duty in the room with Oum Chhay when he
died, and those three officers were suspended. (Note: We
are checking on their current status. End note.) Their
names and titles are:

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Police Lieutenant Colonel CHEA Leng, Anti-Drug Department
Anti-Counterfeit Investigation Office Chief;

Lieutenant CHAN Phanny, Anti-Drug Department Anti-Counterfeit
Investigation Office Deputy Chief; and,

Lieutenant KHUN Vannak, Anti-Drug Department Anti-Counterfeit
Investigation Office Deputy Chief.

3. (U) Sub-units of the Anti-Drug Department are:
Administrative Office, Investigation/Research Office,
Anti-Drug Trafficking Office, Anti-Consumption Office,
Anti-Counterfeit Office, Technical Office, Legal Office,
Intervention Office, and Education Office.

4. (SBU) Background on OUM Chhay: OUM Chhay was 51 years
old, reportedly an army general, and held the prestigious
Cambodian title of "Oknha." He was owner of Chhay Chay
Investment Company located in the Poipet Special Economic
Zone. OUM Chhay was arrested in connection with a
high-profile meth-amphetamine precursor lab bust in Kampong
Speu province in August 2007. MOI officials reported OUM
Chhay's transportation company had helped to transport
chemicals to make amphetamine precursors.
RODLEY

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