A 47-year-old man was charged by Svay Rieng Provincial Court yesterday over a deadly attack on his family in which he poured gasoline on his wife and six-year-old son and set them aflame while they slept, leading to the death of his wife.
Kong Socheat, Chantrea district police chief, said the attack occurred on Sunday night at about 9.30pm at the house of the accused in Samrong commune.
Chan Sareth, a Samrong commune police officer, said the accused got drunk off rice wine with his friends on the evening of the attack.
Upon his return home that night, the accused got into an argument with his wife, accusing her of having an affair with another man, said Mr Sareth.
Mr Sareth said the accused, who was often jealous of his wife, accused her of having an affair with a younger man she worked with at a local garment factory.
In response, his wife denied the allegations and scolded her husband for being a paranoid drunk, said Mr Sareth.
After the argument, the wife took their child and went to sleep, Mr Sareth said.
“The accused was angry at the victim for allegedly having an affair with a young man and badly blaming and cursing at him for being a paranoid drunk,” Mr Sareth said.
“So he poured a bottle of gasoline on his wife and their son while they were sleeping and lit them aflame,” he added. “The wife began screaming for help and neighbours came to their rescue.”
Mr Sareth said the accused had already fled the scene when villagers came to rescue the victims. The accused was later arrested by local police on the same night.
Mr Sareth said the injuries sustained by the wife were so severe that she was first sent to the provincial referral hospital and then transferred to a hospital in Vietnam, where she died a day after the attack.
Mr Socheat identified the accused as Thol Chan, a taxi driver.
Mr Socheat said the accused was yesterday charged with intentional acts of violence with aggravating circumstances and faces up to 15 years in jail if convicted.
He identified the victims as Toeu Chenda, the wife of the accused who died from her injuries, and Thol Socheat, their six-year-old son who is now recovering at a hospital in Phnom Penh from serious burns to his legs.
“The accused has now been jailed pending his trial,” said Mr Socheat.