Jane Nye, who is being treated for her injuries in Bangkok.
horrific knife attack by a burglar that left a British man dead and a New Zealand
woman gravely injured has prompted the British Embassy to review its travel advice
to Britons considering travelling to Cambodia.
Municipal Autopsy Police Chief Prach Nhat confirmed that around 12.15 am on February
22, Briton David Mitchell, 36, owner of the Ginger Monkey bar on Street 178, was
fatally stabbed in the neck, arms and chest. Jane Nye, 29, a New Zealander and the
managing editor of Cambodia Scene magazine, is in Bangkok being treated for knife
wounds to the face, eyes, throat and arms.
Tuoch Naruth, Phnom Penh Municipal Police commissioner, arrived at the couple's apartment
above the bar at 12:30 am. He said a suspect, Tong Chen, 18, a homeless youth, was
arrested about one hour after the crime when found washing blood from his hands and
arms outside the National Museum near the bar. Police found the murder weapon - a
long kitchen knife - abandoned close to the scene of the crime.
Naruth said Tong Chen is being held at Daun Penh Police Station and will be sent
to the municipal court today, February 24. He faces a maximum sentence of life in
prison if found guilty.
Naruth said Tong Chen had confessed to the stabbings but said he had no premeditated
plans to kill anyone. Naruth said the burglar had entered the property in an attempt
to steal valuables, but was disturbed by the victims and attacked them.
Brandon Davis, a Canadian national and manager of the Ginger Monkey, said he was
alerted to the attacks by the arrival of an ambulance on the street and rushed to
According to Davis, Nye went on to the balcony shortly after midnight to use the
flat's bathroom. She was attacked and called for help. Mitchell went to her aid and
was attacked, dying almost immediately. In the ensuing confusion Nye was able to
crawl away from the attacker.
"My personal opinion is that she went outside and spooked somebody who was getting
ready to rob the place," Davis said. No valuables were reported to be missing
from the scene.
The stabbing of Mitchell is the latest in what some say is an upsurge of attacks
on foreign nationals in Cambodia. Mitchell is the second foreigner working in the
service industry to be killed in recent months. On November 28, 2005, Alain Romanouly,
49, the owner of Palm Resort in Kien Svay district, Kandal province, was found dead
having sufffered fatal head injuries from a meat cleaver.
Although it is British Embassy policy not to comment on individual consular cases,
John Mitchell, Chargé d'affaires, said, "In the light of this incident
involving the death of Mr Mitchell and the increase in violent incidents directed
against foreign nationals in Cambodia, we are reviewing the travel advice we give
out to British citizens."
On the night of the attack, Mitchell had dined at the Cantina restaurant on the riverfront,
leaving about 10pm. Cantina's owner, Hurley Scroggins, said Mitchell had not been
drinking alcohol on the night of the attack. Scroggins said security for foreign
nationals in Cambodia has recently deteriorated.
"I have been closing earlier and taking security precautions for the last two
weeks as there is no law and order on the streets after midnight," he said.
"There is a problem - anyone who says there isn't is either woefully misinformed
or a liar."
But Davis said the attack does not reflect worsening security for foreign nationals
"If anything foreigners have a protective halo compared to locals. Robbing a
foreigner gets you into more trouble than robbing a native. That still stands...We
are not being targeted, these are just two unlucky, random occurrences."