Ponhea Leu district police in Kampong Speu province on Wednesday arrested a monk, who was defrocked over an affair with a widow, for allegedly burning her house in Kandal province.
Deputy district police chief Major Seng Duong identified the suspect as Khun Kheng, who still pretended that he was a monk and stayed at the Phnom Toch Pagoda in the district’s Rolaing commune.
Maj Duong said that at about 7pm on Tuesday, Mr Kheng visited his lover Phath Yeng, 45, at her house in Ponhea Leu district’s Vihear Luong commune.
He said that the suspect drank beers at a house in Ampil Damteok village for about two hours and got drunk.
Maj Duong said Mr Kheng then noticed that a $40 phone which he had bought for Ms Yeng was missing and questioned her about it.
He said the victim told him that it had been stolen but he did not believe her and accused her of giving it to a young man in her village whom he suspected was her boyfriend.
Maj Duong said the victim denied the accusation but the suspect became angry and assaulted her.
“He was drunk and was jealous that the victim was having an affair with another man,” he said. “He kicked her on her legs and face, causing serious injuries.”
“After kicking her, he set the wooden house aflame. The house and belongings inside were completely destroyed,” Maj Duong added.
He said that after burning the house, the suspect fled the scene but was arrested later in the night after the victim lodged a report.
Maj Duong said that in her report, the victim claimed that she suffered more than $15,000 in losses.
Major Suon Rith, a police officer in Kandal province, said the suspect is still being detained for questioning at the provincial police headquarters.
Maj Rith noted that during his interrogation, the suspect confessed to the crime and said that he had been a monk since 2004 at the Sbeng Pagoda in the province’s Ponhea Leu district.
He said the suspect came to know the victim in 2008, kept in touch with her over the phone and they became lovers.
Maj Rith said the suspect said they had sex for several years either in a pagoda or at the victim’s house.
“Mr Kheng said the pagoda chief got wind of his liaisons and he was defrocked and expelled on Dec 31, 2017,” he added.
Maj Rith said the suspect then posed as a monk to stay at the Phnom Toch Pagoda.
He said Mr Kheng is accused of committing intentional acts of violence as well as intentionally causing damage and faces up to five year in jail if convicted. He will be sent to the Kandal provincial court today.