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Axe attack injures chief abbot

A Kampong Thom monk was jailed yesterday on charges of intentional violence after he allegedly maimed the pagoda chief after stealing a coconut, according to justice officials.

Ok Sophal, 25, a monk from the Tuol Chan pagoda in Santuk district’s Taing Krasaing commune, was defrocked on Monday after he was accused of severely injuring the pagoda chief with an axe, said Nhem Sarith, a district police officer.

According to local authorities, Sophal was caught stealing and eating coconuts on Monday. The victim and head of the pagoda, Lach Mis, 62, chastised the younger monk for breaking “religious discipline”.

Later that same afternoon while the victim was sleeping alone in his room, Sophal allegedly fetched an axe to gain revenge for the scolding, slashing the sleeping monk twice in the head, imparting severe injuries that required hospital treatment in Phnom Penh.

Dit Bunthol, a Taing Krasaing commune police official who investigated the case, said the suspect had suffered previous mental breakdowns.

“According to documents and medicine provided by the Santuk District Referral Hospital that was found in the suspect’s personal bag, authorities confirmed that he had been a madman before he became a monk,” Bunthol said.

The suspect is in detention in the Kampong Thom Provincial Prison.

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