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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Four charged in killing of mentally ill ‘thief’

Four charged in killing of mentally ill ‘thief’

Four men were charged with murder on Saturday at Kampong Speu Provincial Court for their alleged role in the brutal mob killing of a mentally ill man who was beaten to death on Wednesday night and lit on fire.

Som Sak, Kampong Speu penal police chief, said Oeun Sat, Kang San, Pheun Phos, and Eam Sahon were charged with “murder with aggravating circumstances” and detained in prison to await trial.

Police were still seeking the arrest yesterday of others involved in the murder of Toun Puttrea, a suspected thief who was killed by hoards of villagers in Trapaing Kong commune after being caught allegedly attempting to break into a local’s home.

Puttrea’s brother, Toun Sout, said the family was seeking almost $25,000 in compensation.

According to Sout, Puttrea had gone missing for more than two weeks before his murder, but the family did not report it to police because he regularly disappeared.

Sout said Puttrea, who had suffered from mental health issues for about 10 years, stopped taking his medication three years ago.

Before that “he stayed in hospital for a week, but the doctor said that he was better so they gave us medicine for him but he never took it”.

Dr Chhim Sotheara, executive director of the Transcultural Psychosocial Organisation, said there is a “general lack of understanding” in Cambodia about mental health, which he described as a “neglected field”.

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