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Cambodian Police Deny Responsibility for Vendor’s Shooting Death

Security forces detain a man during clashes with garment workers in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Nov. 12, 2013.
Cambodian police have so far denied responsibility for the shooting death of a street vendor near violent clashes with protesters earlier this week.

Eng Sokhom was struck in the chest by a bullet and later died at the hospital, following clashes between protesters and police on Tuesday outside the home of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The police have denied media reports that they were responsible and say they have no evidence connecting officers to the shooting.

"This is an incident in which we cannot determine [the identity of the shooter], but we have set up a committee [to investigate]," Choun Narin, deputy police chief for Phnom Penh, told reporters Thursday. "I would like to ask, who clearly saw the police shooting at people?"

Chan Saveth, senior investigator for the rights group Adhoc, said there is evidence police are responsible. "If the police say they’re not responsible for the shooting, what about those who were wounded by those bullets? Who is responsible for that? Police cannot deny their responsibility in this violent armed crackdown."

Demonstrators Tuesday came from the SL Garment Processing Factory in Phnom Penh, hoping to deliver a petition to the prime minister, demanding better working conditions. Clashes began when they tried to pass a police barricade.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Khmer service.