Four of the five suspects arrested for the murder of Wendy Ng, 55, a Singaporean pastor and principal, confessed to the crime yesterday, police said.
Deputy chief of the provincial criminal office Sam Sak said the men had been detained overnight and questioned since they were arrested on the date of the murder two days ago.
The men – Keo Sothearvuth, 32; Chhin Laleu, 27; Ou Meylihong, 20; and Tong Sophal, 24 – who were construction workers building Ng’s new home in Kampong Speu province’s Chbar Mon district, told police they had robbed and then killed Ng because they were broke.
Ng, the newly appointed principal of New Hope International School – a school run by Christian organisation New Hope for Orphans (NHO) – had arrived in Cambodia only a month prior and was living in the school’s dormitory while her new house was being built.
According to NHO director Pastor Sinai Phouek, Ng was the only one in the building, although there were four other male teachers living in a separate dorm metres away.
The suspects had broken into Ng’s room and murdered her in the bathroom by stabbing her three times in the neck, said Sak, noting that the murder weapon had not been found.
He added that the suspects had made off with two mobile phones, an iPad tablet, 20,000 riel and 200 Singapore dollars, which they then buried 200 metres from the building.
There was also $4,642 in Ng’s room, meant for NHO staff salaries, but it was locked in a safe and not stolen.
“We have decided to charge these four suspects with premeditated murder,” said Sak, adding that the remaining suspect had not yet confessed.
NHO staff were shocked by the incident, said Sinai, who told the Post that he had known Ng for more than 10 years.
“She was a very gentle and nice person, hospitable to everyone,” said Sinai. “She would never fight or make enemies.”
Ng’s body has been handed over to her husband – who is also a pastor and had flown into the country after he learned of the murder.
Additional reporting by Danson Cheong