Police from Tboung Khmum province’s Krouch Chhmar district on Sunday arrested a former Khmer Rouge soldier who allegedly slashed his wife to death and injured two others after suffering from nightmares related to the civil war.
The murder took place at about 4.30pm on Sunday at the suspect’s house in Tuol Snuol commune’s Muk Phnom village.
Lieutenant Colonel Var Sam Ath, district deputy police chief, yesterday identified the suspect as Chhoy Choeun, 52, a farmer, and the wife as Khan Nouch, 56, also a farmer.
He identified the injured as Second Lieutenant Chhe Lang, 49, the commune’s deputy police chief, and Khan Chea, 34, a farmer.
Lt Col Arth said that a month before the incident, Choeun had been suffering from a series of nightmares, related to the civil war, that people were trying to kill him.
He noted that the suspect joined the Khmer Rouge as a soldier in 1980 and quit in 1996.
Lt Col Arth said that Choeun had informed his wife and neighbours about the nightmares and started keeping a sickle and machete near his bed whenever he went to sleep.
He said that at about 4pm on Sunday, Chhoeun took the sickle and machete and a bundle of clothes and prepared to flee the house after telling his wife he was too scared to stay there.
Lt Col Arth said Ms Nouch stopped him and took the sickle, machete and bundle from him.
“He became angry with her for stopping him from leaving home and taking the items away from him,” he noted. “He grabbed the sickle from her and slashed her throat, causing her to lose consciousness.”
“Mr Chhoeun then took the machete and hacked her several times on the head and neck causing her to die,” Lt Col Arth added.
He noted that after the killing, Chhoeun carried the machete and went to sit behind his house.
Lt Col Arth said that while she was being attacked, Ms Nouch had shouted for help from Mr Chea, who was her nephew living nearby.
He said Mr Chea came to find out what was happening and found her body on the floor.
“While Mr Chea was inspecting her body to check if she was alive, Mr Chhoeun barged in and hacked him with the machete and seriously injured his right hand,” he said. “Mr Chea managed to flee from the house and sought help from neighbours.”
The neighbours took Chea to the provincial referral hospital before alerting commune police.
Lt Col Arth said that after hacking Mr Chea, the suspect walked out to sit behind his house again.
He said that at about 5.30pm on Sunday, five commune and district police officers arrived in a car and went to check whether Ms Nouch was alive and needed to be sent to hospital.
“But while our police officers were walking towards his house, the suspect attacked them with the machete, causing them to retreat,” Lt Col Arth noted. “Sec Lt Lang was unable to flee on time and Mr Chhoeun hacked him on the head, causing serious injuries.”
At about 6pm, the other police officers returned carrying guns and subdued the suspect before arresting him.
Sec Lt Lang was taken to the provincial referral hospital and later sent to Preah Kossamak Hospital in Phnom Penh because he had suffered serious injuries.
Major General Pen Rath, provincial police chief, yesterday said Chhoeun has been accused of murder and attempted murder.
He noted that the suspect is still being questioned at the provincial police headquarters and will be sent to the provincial court today.