BANTEAY Meanchey provincial police and military police officials initiated a murder investigation after an abbot from Yaram Rainsy pagoda, in Mongkol Borei district, was killed in his locked room at the pagoda on Saturday.
Sing Vuon, 38, died after being strangled with a towel and beaten with a blunt object on the left temple. He was discovered lying face down on a mat in his room when a nun found the door locked and peered through the window to see the man bleeding, police said.
Deputy provincial Military Police Chief Or Borin said authorities had not yet identified suspects, although they questioned three monks on Monday over the killing. The three had watched television with the victim the day of the incident.
He called the attack a revenge killing based on evidence collected in cooperation with provincial police.
“His mobile phone and cash were not [missing],” he said. “It was a brutal murder, and the killers are regarded as ingrates who dared to kill the monk.”
Soam Chankea, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said the group was investigating the theory that the murder was premeditated.
“Last year [the victim] had a dispute with a monk who has since fled to Thailand,” he said, adding the killing could be related to a beneficiary of the pagoda or someone close to the victim.
Provincial police Chief Hun Hean said police don’t know yet how many people were part of the attack. “Our policemen are working day and night without rest to search for the criminals relating to this brutal killing,” he said.