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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Teen tried over killing of abbot

Teen tried over killing of abbot

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday heard the case of a former teenage monk accused of the murder of one of his superiors, allegedly while he was being reprimanded.

On the morning of January 15, Thach Khann, 37, an abbot, called suspect Chan Sopheak, 17, into his room to advise him against leaving Samaki Rainsy pagoda late at night, presiding judge Top Chhunheng said yesterday. During the course of the conversation, an argument ensued, and Sopheak allegedly picked up a knife and stabbed Khann in the neck, killing him.

“He got angry with the victim . . . he stabbed him many times, and killed him,” Chhunheng said.

In court yesterday, Sopheak admitted to killing his elder, but said it was unintentional and done in self-defence.

As a monk at Samaki Rainsy – which has been called the “protest pagoda” – Sopheak, said Khann tried to force him to attend rallies, and beat him when he refused to go.

“I stabbed him, because he has beaten me, so I needed to defend myself,” Sopheak said. “I had no intention to kill him.”

A verdict is due on June 23.



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