Cambodia, one of Asia's fastest-growing economies, is at a tipping point amid an environment of volatile politics that threatens to disrupt the country's move to democracy and put its key industry in the firing line.
At the center of events is the murder of a popular political commentator.
Government critic and analyst Kem Ley was gunned down on July 10 in broad daylight at a Phnom Penh coffee shop. A suspect was quickly arrested and confessed to the crime, but speculation has remained high that it was a political assassination.
Kem Ley was known for criticizing both sides of Cambodia's polarized political landscape, which is dominated by the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) and the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), but the lion's share of his reproval was aimed at the former.
Widespread protests erupted following his murder, and human rights groups such as Transparency International have called for an independent investigation.
"Cambodia's politics have veered dangerously out of control," Joshua Kurlantzick, senior fellow for Southeast Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations, warned in a note last week. "The government's brutal tactics of the 1990s and early 2000s, when political activists were routinely murdered and opposition parties nearly put out of business, have returned."
Cambodia has a deep history of politically-motivated violence, stretching from the Khmer Rouge's totalitarian regime in the 1970s up until as recently. Last October, when two opposition parliamentarians were brutally attacked outside the National Assembly building, with Human Rights Watch warning that the act bore the hallmarks of an operation carried out by state security forces.
"Politics is at a critical juncture, the current situation is an absolute shamble," Jonathan Bogais, associate professor at the University of Sydney, told CNBC, of the currently volatile situation.