Moniker a Morbid Fit for Kem Ley’s Fables

Source: The Cambodia Daily / July 18, 2016 by

When Kem Ley’s alleged murderer provided his name as “Chuop Samlap”—or “Meet Kill”—after fatally shooting the popular political analyst on July 10, it was met with shock and bafflement.

“This name, we can’t believe it,” said Phnom Penh municipal police chief Chuon Sovann at a news conference later the same day. “For a long time, people have never given the name ‘samlap’ to children.”


A police van arrives at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court last Monday carrying the man suspected of fatally shooting Kem Ley. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

“Who is the sick person [who] came up with this? Who jokes like this? Who?” asked Kem Monovithya, the opposition CNRP’s deputy public affairs chief, on Twitter.

A simple investigation by But Buntenh, a dissident monk, had by the next day already revealed the suspected killer’s real name to be Oeuth Ang. But authorities seemed unmoved and on Wednesday charged him with murder using his chilling moniker.

Yet if the official use of “Chuop Samlap” seemed inexplicable, there was one place it would not have appeared out of place—among the 19 searing critiques of government leaders that Kem Ley published as fables in the two weeks before his death.

Using biting names such as “Uncle Five Villas” for one high-ranking official or “Does Not Care” for a less-than-conscientious political leader, the fables attracted attention for both their humor and their messages.




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