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Cambodia Prime Minister’s Nephew Arrested

November 25, 2003

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) _ Prime Minister Hun Sen’s nephew was arrested Tuesday on murder charges for allegedly shooting to death two people after a car crash, police said.

Nim Sophea, 22, was arrested just north of Phnom Penh on charges of causing a traffic accident and murder, according to a warrant signed by judge Hing Thirith.

Nim Sophea is the son of Hun Sen’s sister. She is married to Nim Chan Dara, the undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who until recently was the ambassador to Myanmar.

``We have determined that Nim Sophea was the shooter, but Nim Sophea himself has claimed to the (police) that he did not shoot, but that he was the one who tried to stop his friend who was shooting,″ said Heng Pov, a local deputy police commissioner.

The Oct. 27 shooting happened after a car racing three other vehicles down a Phnom Penh street lost control and crashed into a parked truck, killing one person and injuring two.

Nim Sophea, who was involved in the race, allegedly fired an automatic rifle wildly at passers-by after the accident, killing two people and injuring two, police said. His motive wasn’t clear, but police believe he may have been angry or drunk.

Nim Sophea was named by another man arrested in connection with the shooting, Heng Pov said

Nim Sophea’s younger brother, Nim Chan Tana, was also summoned Tuesday to the municipal court. It wasn’t clear why he was summoned, but it’s believed that he was involved in the car race, Heng Pov said.

This wasn’t the first time that Hun Sen’s relatives have had run-ins with the law. They have been arrested in the past for acts of violence, but are generally released later without facing much punishment.

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