Man charged in monk killing; another arrested

Man charged in monk killing; another arrested

Authorities in Kampong Speu province have charged a 33-year-old man with premeditated murder in the fatal shooting of an elderly monk at a ceremony on Saturday, while police have arrested a second suspect in the case.

Venerable Moeung Om, 76, was about five minutes into chanting at a one-year funeral anniversary in the province’s Samrong Tong district when he was shot in the back of the head from behind a curtain. He was cremated on Monday.

After hearing that Om had argued with former monk Chea Saran, 33, police detained him for several days and requested a warrant to search his home. He was charged and sent to the court yesterday despite the fact that the police initially said there wasn’t much evidence linking him to the crime.

At about 3pm yesterday, provincial police detained another suspect, said Pen Sothea, police chief at Taing Krouch commune. Sothea identified the newly arrested suspect only as Kin.

Saran is currently in pre-trial detention, according to Sam Sak, the provincial crime bureau chief.

“Thus far, police are continuing to research and investigate for additional evidence to incriminate the above suspects,” Sak said.

Saran had been a monk at Ang Sneat pagoda, where Om was the deputy chief abbot. Though sources told police that the two had argued and that Saran had been defrocked, it later emerged that his parents had asked him to leave the monkhood so he could get married.

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