A Lao Pastor Stabbed and Killed In Cold Blood By Provincial Police

Na-ang Village, Chomphet District, Luang Prabang Province
Advocacy Alert No. 05/2015
September 14, 2015

Approximately after 10 PM on September 8, 2015, it was reported that five unidentified men entered Pastor Singkeaw Wongkongpheng’s property and one of them named Mr. Wansai entered the Pastor Singkeaw’s house. Mr. Wansai first grabbed his wife. When she called out for help, Pastor Singkeaw came to her rescue. Mr. Wansai then grabbed him and tried to take him away. Witnesses said Pastor Singkeaw asked the attacker if he needed money. Relatives of Pastor Singkeaw reported that Mr. Wansai responded saying he was a secret police and he came to take the life of Pastor Singkeaw and nothing else.

When Pastor Singkeaw called out for help, Mr. Wansai stabbed him three times in the back. Upon arriving in the house and hearing his father’s calling out for help, Pastor Singkdeaw’s son, Mr. Manh, pursued after Mr. Wansai and severely injured him. Mr. Wansai is being treated in a hospital in Luang Prabang province. It was later revealed that Mr. Wansai is a Luang Prabang provincial police serving as a prison guard in Pha-Oh Prison.

Local Christians in Luang Prabang suspected that the five men initially planned to abduct Pastor Singkeaw and his wife and then dispose of them similar to the previous case in Luang Namtha province where the Christian pastor and his wife had disappeared many years ago and were never found.

Local Christians ruled out robbery as a possible motivation for this ruthless and cold-blooded murder. They believe that his death was the direct result of his Christian faith and ministry of spreading that faith.

Pastor Singkeaw served as the pastor of Na-ang Church in Na-ang village with 58 members. Members of his church come from both Na-ang village and Hueytat village in the same district. A local Christian leader reported that Pastor Singkeaw was a good law abiding citizen and he kept a simple life with very little materialistically. He neither had any known enemy nor had received prior death threats against his life.

His troubles started back in the period of great religious persecution against the Christians in Luang Prabang province in 1997 to 2002 when Lao officials began cracking down on Christians in his area and official orders were given that no Christians be allowed to spread the Christian faith in Chomphet district and many other districts in Luang Prabang province. However, Pastor Singkeaw ignored the orders and continued spreading the Christian faith. Actually, the church that he had been pastoring up to his death was founded by him in 2000 during the great religious persecution.

Once again about a couple of years ago, Lao officials ordered Pastor Singkeaw to cease the propagation of the Christian faith but again he ignored the order and continued spreading the Christian faith to five villages.

His strong stance on practicing his constitutionally guaranteed religious right in holding and spreading his Christian faith was believed to finally met with his cruel death at the hands of his opposers. He left behind his wife Mrs. Daeng and six children, 4 boys and 2 girls.

The HRWLRF is calling upon the Lao government to investigate into the death of Pastor Singkeaw and bring justice to his family and church as well as to hold the police officer and four other unidentified attackers responsible for their cruel and cold-blooded murder.

Additionally the HRWLRF is urging the Lao government to respect the right of the Lao people to religious freedom and the accompanying rights as guaranteed in the Lao constitution and the U.N. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by Laos in 2009, upholding the individual’s right to adopt a religion/belief of choice as well as the right to manifest that religion/belief in a corporate worship (Article 18). Any form of coercion impairing the freedom to have and manifest one’s religion/belief of choice is condemned in the Covenant.

Chomphet Luangprabang

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