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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Businessman attacked with cleaver at airport

Vehicles sit on the tarmac at Phnom Penh International Airport last year.
Vehicles sit on the tarmac at Phnom Penh International Airport last year. Heng Chivoan

Businessman attacked with cleaver at airport

A 25-year-old suspect will be sent to court to face attempted murder charges after allegedly attacking a senior staff member of ING Holdings Co Ltd yesterday with a cleaver at the Phnom Penh International Airport, according to an airport official and police.

Khek Norinda, spokesman for Cambodia Airports, confirmed the attack took place yesterday at 8:30 am in the public area outside the terminal.

“The aggressor used a cleaver kitchen knife,” he said in an email. “It has been reported that neither one of them were passengers.”

Norinda said the attacker was arrested by onsite police and handed over to Por Sen Chey district police. The victim was taken to a hospital.

Chea Sovann, deputy district police chief, identified the victim as Keo Sotha, 52, assistant to ING Holdings Chairman Ing Bun Hoaw. The suspect was identified as Keo Phearum, 25, who an airport official said is an employee of a private transportation company who went to the airport to pick up a guest.

“The victim was hacked multiple times in the head, left hand [and] index finger,” he said. “His finger was almost cut off.”

After the attack, the suspect allegedly surrendered.

“We don’t know the real motive yet,” he added. “But he told us that he had been to a drug rehabilitation [centre] . . . He didn’t know the victim.”

The suspect will be sent to court to be charged with attempted murder, Sovann said.

A representative at Royal Phnom Penh Hospital said the victim was “OK” yesterday.

The company in a brief statement said it was “shocked and saddened by this savage and unprovoked attack”.

A previous version of this article misstated the suspect's profession due to inaccurate information being given by the police. It has now been updated.
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