A man died in Kampong Cham province on Sunday after a large battery he had allegedly been trying to steal in neighbouring Tbong Khmum province exploded, according to police, who said that they were pursuing murder charges because they believed the battery had been purposefully rigged to maim or kill would-be thieves.
The incident occurred at the Sre Siem quarry on Saturday, with the man later dying in a Kampong Cham hospital. Tbong Khmum district police chief Moeng Raiya said the victim, Korn Chanty, 24, tried to steal the battery of a stone-grinding machine from the quarry in Chirou II commune.
The battery was rigged with blasting powder normally used to blast apart rock, and blew off one of his legs when it exploded. Raiya said workers told them somebody at the company had become frustrated with frequent thefts, and in response tried to intentionally harm the perpetrator.
“Though the suspect, before his death, admitted that he had already stolen batteries in this quarry twice, police still regard the case as an intentional murder due to the claims of some workers that the battery was rigged with explosives in order to harm the thief,” Raiya said.
Chirou II commune police chief Yorng Somet said two other workers had also been interrogated after saying the company altered the battery. “Police are investigating this case,” he said.
Police officials declined to disclose the name of the company or to specify who exactly in the company the workers accused of creating the makeshift bomb.