Protests continue around the world, including here in Minnesota, about the repression of Khmer Krom Buddhist monks in Vietnam, and the refusal of Cambodian authorities to allow basic rites to be held for a possibly murdered monk. And this morning, we find that the founder and publisher of a Khmer Krom-targeted newspaper in Phnom Penh was found murdered in Kompong Speu province. The body was found hanging from a tree in the woods near Pich Nil, which is near the famous overpass with the Yeay Mao shrines, and a famou location of ghosts which cause car accidents.
Heng Samrin is insisting that the problems Khmer Krom monks report having in Vietnam are ‘internal affairs,’ and that he cannot and should not intervene. Meanwhile, although the original news reports claimed that Pov Samarth, the murdered publisher referenced above, was found hanging, multiple reports this morning note that he was found stuffed into a suitcase. His exact location has also been changed from Pich Nil to Phnom Sruoch, very close to a place where I and another friend did fieldwork. Another reader sent in this very precise description of the effect the situation is likely to have:
Following a series of highly politicised worldwide protests aimed at drawing public attention to the suppression of Khmer Krom in Vietnam and their implicit independence claims, and after a particularly bloody stand off between monks in Phnom Penh it is with grave concern that many media outlets in Cambodia are reporting the murder of Pov Samarth, publisher of Voice of Khmer Krom. Even if initial Khmer Krom claims were read by some as overzealous, the murder has now certainly added weight to their claims of suppression and intimidation. [link New Mandala]