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Man Arrested in Connection with Cambodian Labor Leader's Murder - 2004-01-28

Cambodian police say they have made an arrest in last week's murder of Chea Vichea - the outspoken president of Cambodia's largest labor union.

Phnom Penh deputy police chief, Heng Pov, said Wednesday morning that authorities had arrested the suspected killer of union boss Chea Vichea.

Authorities would not release the man's name, saying he is still being interrogated in an ongoing investigation.

A sketch of the killer - based on descriptions by two eyewitnesses - was released earlier this week. The black and white drawing depicted a clean-shaven Khmer man in his mid twenties with parted short hair and big eyes.

Chea Vichea was fatally shot at a Phnom Penh newsstand last Thursday. Witnesses say the shooter was dressed in street clothes and made his getaway on a motorbike driven by an accomplice.

Members of the Free Trade Union of Workers allege the killing was politically motivated as Chea Vichea was a prominent supporter of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party.

Union officials had expressed skepticism that the case would come to justice citing a spate of unsolved shootings apparently related to politics.

Tens of thousands of mourners swelled Phnom Penh's streets for Chea Vichea's funeral procession on Sunday. Many sported black headbands that proclaimed the union president a workers' hero.