Kandal Provincial Court yesterday charged a man upon release from hospital for allegedly strangling his wife dead in July before burning her body after she asked him for a divorce.
Major General Eav Chamroeun, provincial police chief, identified the accused as Veng Vireak, 30, and the victim as Han Sreymom, 33.
He noted the court charged Mr Vireak with premeditated murder, which carries a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.
“During an interrogation with provincial penal police, the accused admitted to killing his wife because he was angry at her for asking him for a divorce,” Maj Gen Chamroeun said. “He confessed that he strangled her until she died on the bed inside the house.”
“After killing her, he took a blanket and some clothes to cover her body and took about half a litre of gasoline from his motorbike and poured it all over the room,” he added. “He set fire to the room, which spread throughout the house, in order to confuse neighbours into thinking that there was an accident where a fire ripped through the house.”
The murder took place at about 2.30am on July 14 at the couple’s home located in Por Krom village in Troeuy Sla commune, which is in Kandal province’s Sa’ang district.
Maj Gen Chamroeun said that while Mr Vireak was setting his house on fire, the flames also burned his face and he was seriously injured, after which he fled to his parents’ house in the same district.
He said the parents of the accused then took him to the provincial hospital, leading to police placing him under detention as he recovered from his injuries.
On Wednesday, the accused was discharged from hospital and provincial penal police summoned him for questioning at the provincial police headquarters.
Maj Gen Chamroeun said that during his interrogation, the accused confessed to the crime before being sent to the court yesterday.
He noted that Mr Vireak was unemployed and was a gambler, playing in casinos and betting on cock-fighting events.
He said Ms Sreymom was not happy with Mr Vireak, who did not earn any money to support the family and continued to gamble. He added that she had repeteadly asked him for a divorce, which the accused rejected.
Maj Gen Chamroeun said on the day of the murder, Mr Vireak got into an argument with his wife after she asked him for a divorce again. He then strangled her.
The accused has been placed in pre-trial detention pending his trial, he added.