Pailin provincial police have arrested and handed preliminary charges to a man over the grisly murder of a commune clerk and his young family, whose charred bodies were discovered in their home late last week.
Un Sereyroth, Pailin deputy police chief, said 32-year-old Chhorm Chamnan – an in-law of the victims – was arrested on Saturday after being shot in the leg as he attempted to flee.
Sala Krao commune clerk Heng Bora, 25; his 24-year-old wife, Pory Samrong Sameth; and their 6-month-old daughter were found dead in their burnt out home in 0-5 Village in O’Andong commune early on Friday morning.
Police allege that the suspect entered the house at around midnight on Thursday while the family was sleeping. He then tied the husband and wife up with steel wire before pouring petrol around the house and setting it ablaze. Police found the wire around the necks, hands and legs of the victims’ charred remains.
Up to $10,000 in cash, which the victim recently borrowed from the bank, was also destroyed in the fire.
“The suspect had long-running rancour with the victim’s family and the suspect is the older brother-in-law of the victims, but I do not know more detail about what the dispute was about,” Sereyroth said.
Chamnan is married to a sister of Samrong Sameth.
“We suspected him because he seemed scared, we noticed that his and the victim’s houses were next to each other, and that the victim’s pet dogs did not bark at him, but did bark at everybody else,” Sereyroth added.
The deputy police chief said Chamnan admitted to the triple murder soon after being stopped by police, but then tried to avoid arrest. “The suspect attempted to escape by running about 100 metres, and then the police officials decided to shoot him in his right leg to injure him.”
Chamnan is currently recovering from his gunshot wound in hospital, under constant police surveillance.
“We preliminarily charged him with premeditated murder. He planned in advance to kill the victims, but what he did is very cruel,” Sereyroth said.