Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Bodyguard’s murder-suicide claims two-star general, woman

Bodyguard’s murder-suicide claims two-star general, woman

Military police direct an ambulance yesterday at a government building in Phnom Penh where three people were killed in a murder-suicide.
Military police direct an ambulance yesterday at a government building in Phnom Penh where three people were killed in a murder-suicide. Pha Lina

Bodyguard’s murder-suicide claims two-star general, woman

The chief bodyguard for Cambodia’s National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces (NPMEC) yesterday fatally shot two colleagues before killing himself at the centre’s Phnom Penh headquarters in what officials said was a murder-suicide sparked by a rejected marriage proposal.

Armed with a handgun, Sem Ratha, a 32-year-old who heads the centre’s bodyguard contingent, shot the centre’s human resources director, Oum Sophear, 35, and office assistant Seng Marina, 37, shortly after arriving at the complex in Tuol Kork district at about 9am before turning the gun on himself, according to military police spokesman Eng Hy.

Though Hy declined to provide further details, NPMEC director-general Sem Sovanny said the shooting was sparked by “a young lovers’ issue”. He said Marina – who was rushed to Phnom Penh’s Preah Kossamak hospital but died from her wounds – recently rejected a marriage proposal from the shooter.

“The guy proposed for an engagement, but the girl rejected because she felt that she is older than him,” Sovanny said. “He then proposed marriage, but [she] rejected him.”

Sovanny said the shooting of Sophear, a two-star general, was sparked by “jealousy”.

The National Police website yesterday described the incident as a “love triangle”, though sources working at the centre said there was no indication Sothear was romantically involved with Malina.

“These three are good people, with nice attitudes who talk politely,” one worker, who requested anonymity, said.

“Sophear is married and the two dead people are single. I think Oum Sophear has a wife and they seem to have a good relationship together, like a happy family.”

NPMEC deputy director-general Phal Samorn said that Marina and Sophear had worked closely together in the same office, which may have upset Ratha.

“When he saw [them working together], he got jealous and that caused him, through anger, to kill,” Samorn said.

Samorn also noted Ratha had turned his attention to Marina after a previous marriage proposal to another woman in the office was also rejected.

Another employee at the centre – which is responsible for building the peacekeeping capacity of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, and training personnel in peacekeeping operations and the clearance of landmines and unexploded ordnance – yesterday said the shooter approached the victims separately at close range.

“Oum Sophear had just arrived at work and was unlocking the door to his office on the second floor when Sen Ratha came and shot him there,” said the source, who declined to be named and said that he did not see the incident, but had spoken to people there at the time.

“Then Sen Ratha took the elevator to the fifth floor. A woman saw him with a gun and ran out of the room but Seng Marina was still there, so he shot her and then shot himself.”

Reached yesterday, Marina’s father said he was shocked by the news and knew nothing about Ratha’s advances on his daughter.

“She never mentioned anything related to love or anyone interested in her,” he said.

“Her personality is such that she’s not interested in love; she was just focused on her study. She had recently graduated with her master’s degree in management.”

Distraught, he hung up without providing his name.

Hy, the military police spokesman, said that officers are continuing to investigate the case.

MOST VIEWED

  • Joy as Koh Ker Temple registered by UNESCO

    Cambodia's Koh Ker Temple archaeological site has been officially added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List, during the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on September 17. The ancient temple, also known as Lingapura or Chok Gargyar, is located in

  • Ream base allegations must end, urges official

    A senior government official urges an end to the allegations and suspicions surrounding the development of Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base, now that Prime Minister Hun Manet has addressed the issue on the floor of the 78th UN General Assembly (UNGA 78). Jean-Francois Tain, a geopolitical

  • Cambodia set to celebrate Koh Ker UNESCO listing

    To celebrate the inscription of the Koh Ker archaeological site on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, the Ministry of Cults and Religion has appealed to pagodas and places of worship to celebrate the achievement by ringing bells, shaking rattles and banging gongs on September 20. Venerable

  • CP denied registration documents by ministry

    The Ministry of Interior will not reissue registration documents to the Candlelight Party (CP). Following a September 21 meeting between ministry secretary of state Bun Honn and CP representatives, the ministry cited the fact that there is no relevant law which would authorise it to do

  • Manet touches down in Beijing for high-level meetings

    Prime Minister Hun Manet arrived in Beijing on September 14 for his first official visit to China, where he is slated to attend the 20th China-ASEAN Expo and meet other leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping. Upon his arrival, Manet laid a wreath at the Monument

  • Cambodian diaspora laud Manet’s UN Assembly visit

    Members of the Cambodian diaspora are rallying in support of Prime Minister Hun Manet’s forthcoming visit to the 78th UN General Assembly (UNGA 78) in the US’ New York City this week. Their move is an apparent response to a recent call by self-exiled former