Takhmao city police in Kandal province on Wednesday arrested four Khmer Muslims who, following an insult about consuming pork, allegedly beat a youth dead after ramming their motorbikes into his.
Major Bun Theng, a city police officer, identified the suspects as Sleh Rummali, 17, Lah Khakvy, 18, Ali Miszan, 18, all factory workers, and Math Sma-El, 15, a student.
Maj Theng identified the victim as Pen Rithyreach, 18, a high school student.
He said that at about 2pm on Wednesday, the four accused and victim were sitting on their motorbikes near a garden along the city’s Tonle Bassac river.
Maj Theng noted that the four youths and the victim got into an argument and he insulted them by saying “You are Cham but you eat pork!”
He said that the accused hurled curses back and threatened to beat him.
“The victim got very angry with them,” Maj Theng said. “He picked up a small stone, threw it at them and quickly rode off.”
He said that the accused gave chase on two motorbikes and hit the victim’s machine, causing him to fall off.
“When the victim fell from the motorbike, they got off their machines and severely beat him,” Maj Theng said. “Although the victim was seriously injured, they also threw stones at him.”
He said an eyewitness alerted police who were on patrol nearby, but the four fled the scene before officers arrived.
He added that the victim died while police were transporting him to the provincial referral hospital.
Maj Theng noted that police arrested the four suspects later that afternoon and seized their two motorbikes.
City police chief Colonel Sar Keopiseth said yesterday that the four are accused of committing intentional acts of violence with aggravating circumstances and each faces up to 17 years in jail if convicted.
He added that they are still detained for questioning and will be sent to Kandal Provincial Court today.