A 65-year-old man has been detained after killing and eating an escaped peacock believed to belong to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s nephew Hun To.
Fearing repercussions after news of the bird’s fate spread, the man confessed to police yesterday that he had poached one of four peacocks that landed on the roof of his Stung Meanchey home.
“He came to confess that he had shot and killed one of the peacocks,” Stung Meanchey commune police chief Mao Savoeun said yesterday.
“He ate the peacock last night at about 6pm. He had used a slingshot to shoot the peacock before cooking it. He came to confess because he learned authorities would take action.”
According to Savoeun, the man will be “fined and educated” as he had been warned beforehand by local authorities not to kill the birds, which appeared in his neighbourhood over the weekend.
Municipal agriculture department director Sieng Borin said the man would be released from custody after signing an agreement not to kill peacocks again. The remaining three birds had been taken by an animal conservation group, he said.
According to a security guard at a house behind the InterContinental hotel belonging to Hun To – who in 2008 was accused of ordering his bodyguards to beat an opposition parliamentarian – the escaped birds were among a so-called ostentation of peacocks kept by their boss at the property.
“We tried to look after them and not let anyone shoot them,” he said, declining to be named.
Reached yesterday, Hun To said he was in Dubai and unaware of the incident though confirmed he was a peacock collector.
“At that property I have raised 23 peacocks I have raised them since they were as small as a forearm,” he said, adding that as peacocks matured, they became harder to control.
“How can they be herded when they grow bigger? They can fly.”