Posted: 10 November 2008 0603 hrs
PHNOM PENH : Cambodia’s top policeman died in a helicopter crash in bad weather that also claimed the life of a top-ranking army general, a government spokesman told AFP Sunday.
Chief of police Hok Lundy and General Sok Sa Em were passengers in a helicopter that came down shortly after it took off Sunday from Phnom Penh airport, ministry of interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak said.
“In the helicopter there was a pilot, a co-pilot, the national police chief and the deputy commander of the military. All four died,” Khieu Sopheak said.
Khieu Sopheak said the helicopter came down in southeastern Svay Rieng province.
“The reason for the crash was bad weather. There was a heavy rain,” he added.
Hok Lundy’s body was almost blown into pieces and is now being carried to Phnom Penh, it added.
He said radio contact had been lost 15 minutes after it took off from Phnom Penh airport at around 7:20 pm (1220 GMT).
Hok Lundy, head of the country’s police for over a decade, had been routinely criticised by international organisations for alleged human rights abuses and corruption within his force.
Hok Lundy was also accused of involvement in politically motivated killings and drug trafficking. Human rights groups protested a decision to allow him a visa to the United States last year after the State Department refused him a visa in 2006 due to allegations he was involved in trafficking prostitutes.
Arrangements were being made for a traditional Cambodian funeral for the police chief, Khieu Sopheak said.
– AFP /ls