Kampot Provincial Police on Sunday arrested six security guards who allegedly beat a farmer to death over a land dispute in Chhouk district on Thursday.
Major Sok Theng, a Provincial General Crimes Department penal police officer, yesterday identified them as Soeun Mao, 54, Moeun Veasna, 52, Pring Nuon, 47, Ngeth Phon, 49, Hean Chan, 51, and Touch Sarom, 53.
He identified the victim as Uon Vanna, 48, who lived in Trapaing Phlaing commune.
Maj Theng said that at about 7.30 pm on Thursday, the six suspects got into an argument with Mr Vanna after accusing him of encroaching onto land owned by a Chinese company which employed them.
He said that during the argument the six men beat the victim with pieces of wood, killing him on the spot.
Maj Theng said the suspects then fled and Mr Vanna’s body was found by his wife and other villagers on Friday morning.
Maj Theng said that provincial penal police on Sunday arrested the six men after the wife and several villagers said that they had previously threatened to kill Mr Vanna over the alleged land grab.
He added that according to the villagers, Mr Vanna had an unresolved land dispute with the Chinese company since 2007.
Major General Mao Chanmathurith, provincial police chief, yesterday said that the six men were gangsters hired by the Chinese company to guard its property.
“They were gangsters who were hired by a private company to protect its land,” he said. “According to villagers, they were very aggressive and had previously beaten several villagers who had land disputes with the company.”
Maj Gen Chanmathurith said the suspects are accused of committing intentional murder and face up to 15 years in jail each if convicted.
He added that they are still being detained for questioning and will be sent to the provincial court today.