Conflicting accounts emerged yesterday over the death on Sunday of a 24-year-old alleged timber smuggler in Kratie’s Snuol district. Chout Kroth died of head injuries after falling from his motorbike outside the base of the army’s Unit 619, according to a report signed by the unit’s commander, Suos Chamroeun.
The report claims that Kroth had slowed down to wait for the arrival of two friends, and that when he had looked back to find them, two cars had passed him, causing his bike to topple and the wood he was carrying to crush his head against the ground.
“Two soldiers from Unit 619 and friends of the victim helped to lift his motorbike, but unfortunately he died,” the report reads.
However, a video has been shared on social media purporting to be an interview with one of those friends, who claims that Kroth was unseated by a member of Unit 619, who he alleges grabbed Kroth’s handlebars as he passed.
“He died at about 9am,” the alleged friend said in the video. “I witnessed it with my own eyes, there was no car chasing him, and I know he is an official wearing civilian clothes . . . after the accident, he went to change his clothes.”
Deputy provincial police chief Horn Pouch said he currently believed that Kroth’s death was self-inflicted, but that he was aware of the alleged involvement of a solider: “We are still investigating to see whether it is true or not.”