Police in Svay Rieng province yesterday arrested a man suspected of killing two farmers over a land dispute in Mondulkiri province last month.
The killings took place at about 7.30pm on September 7 at the victim’s home in O’Koki village in Mondulkiri’s Koh Nhek district. The victims were 37-year-old Sok Ra and his wife 34-year-old An Ol.
Brigadier General On Bunnyrith, deputy chief of provincial police, said 49-year-old Sok Chamroeun, the suspect, was arrested on Monday at a construction site in Svay Rieng’s Bavet city, near the Cambodian-Vietnamese border.
“We suspect he killed the victims in Mondulkiri province and fled to Bavet city to hide and work at the construction site,” Brig Gen Bunnyrith said. “He was arrested on Monday after [Svay Rieng police] saw him working.”
“After he was arrested by Svay Rieng provincial police, he was transferred to the Mondulkiri provincial police headquarters to be questioned because the crime happened in Mondulkiri,” he added.
Colonel Kloth Sophea, chief of Koh Nhek district police in Mondulkiri, said Mr Chamroeun’s wife, 47-year-old Yeay An, who is also a suspect, was previously arrested for being linked to the crime.
Col Sophea said that the suspects and victims had a long-standing dispute over land in the commune, noting that they were all neighbours in the village. He said that on September 7, the victims were hosting a party that disturbed the suspects.
Col Sophea said the suspects approached the victims and began arguing over the loud noise, but the argument escalated and the two sides began fighting over the land.
“During the argument, Mr Chamroeun took an AK-47 rifle from his house and fired a bullet at Mr Ra, hitting him in the left rib cage. He died at the scene of the crime,” he said. “After shooting Mr Ra, Mr Chamroeun shot two bullets at Ms Ol. One bullet hit her hip and another hit her chest. She died on the way to the provincial referral hospital.”
Col Sophea said after the shootings, Mr Chamroeun took the AK-47 and escaped with his wife.
He noted that Ms An was arrested the next day in the village, while Mr Chamroeun escaped.
Col Sophea noted that Ms An was charged with accomplice to premeditated murder on September 10 by the Mondulkiri Provincial Court. She is now in pre-trial detention.
Brigadier General So Sovann, chief of Mondulkiri’s provincial general crimes department, yesterday said Mr Chamroeun is accused of premeditated murder. If convicted, Mr Chamroeun faces a life sentence.
Brig Gen Sovann said Mr Chamroeun was made to re-enact the crime at O’Koki village before he was sent to the provincial police headquarters for further questioning.
Mr Chamroeun will be sent to court today.