A man was killed by an angry mob after being suspected of stealing a woman’s motorbike in Kampong Speu province’s Kong Pisei district on Sunday night, police said.
Deputy provincial police chief Som Bora said yesterday that victim Meng Chhoeun, 37, was beaten and hacked to death by a group of locals.
“His face was beaten so severely it was hard to confirm his identity,” Bora said.
According to district police, when the owner of the motorbike that Chhoeun was accused of stealing raised the alarm, locals spotted two men on what appeared to be the bike about 150 metres away, gave chase and managed to grab Chhoeun, while the other man escaped.
According to a police official who declined to be named, “hundreds of them ran out from their houses to catch them”.
“We are going to find out more about who beat him, but it was a mob,” the official said. “Don’t worry, we will investigate.”
Those at the scene found a press pass on Chhoeun’s body issued by the Ministry of Information on January 8, and identifying him as a journalist for Reasmey Preah Vihear. Pok Hak, an official with the ministry, said yesterday that he didn’t know whether Chhoeun was actually a journalist, and noted that many fake press passes were in circulation.
However, Bora, the deputy provincial police chief, said Chhoeun’s wife had confirmed he was a reporter, and questioned why he would be stealing motorbikes.
“She told us that her family isn’t really poor because her husband has a car,” he said.