Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Charge uncertain for monk

Charge uncertain for monk

People pay their respects to Venerable Thach Khan
People pay their respects to Venerable Thach Khan on Monday, in Phnom Penh, after he was killed at Samaki Rainsy pagoda by another monk. Pha Lina

Charge uncertain for monk

The young monk who is accused of killing his superior at a pagoda in the capital on Monday looks set to escape a murder charge after police sent him to court on a lesser count yesterday.

The Venerable Thach Khan, 34, died on Monday after being stabbed in the neck at the Samaki Rainsy pagoda, home to dozens of Kampuchea Krom monks involved in last year’s anti-Vietnam protests.

Teng Sino, Meanchey district police chief, said suspect Ly Toeng, also known as Chan Sophak, 17, was sent to Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday charged with violence in aggravating circumstances causing unintentional death – Article 224 of the penal code.

“Police accused him only of violence, because there was violence between the two monks,” he said, explaining why a murder charge had not been laid.

Deputy prosecutor Chea Meth confirmed yesterday that Toeng had been questioned in court over the lesser charge, which can still bring seven to 15 years in prison.

“I have not yet charged him in court,” Meth said. “I will question him more tomorrow.”

The National Police said on its website yesterday the suspect alleged the victim had physically abused him many times. “The deputy monk was always inviting him to go inside his room and would then hit and kick him virtually daily,” the statement said, quoting the suspect.

According to Toeng, he had stabbed Khan with a sharp knife because he could not bear “the suffering” of another beating.

But Lay Lat, a fellow monk, denied this. “I reject the claim that [Khan] beat him. The deputy chief always told monks to be good. I don’t believe he beat a monk,” he said.

The Khmer Kampuchea Krom Association for Human Rights and Development issued a statement yesterday expressing profound regret at Khan’s death.

Echoing sentiments expressed on Monday – that the attack was political rather than personal – the association called for a thorough investigation. “The association … asks the authorities to continue to investigate to arrest those behind this and bring them to justice,” the statement says.

Sieng Sovanna, Samaki Rainsy’s chief monk, said two of Toeng’s relatives had visited the pagoda to pay respects.

“They donated some money and then left. They don’t want to face problems with people here,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Diplomatic passports issued to foreigners to be annulled

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation will move to annul diplomatic passports issued to those not born in Cambodia. Analysts say the move may be in relation to reports that former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra used a Cambodian passport to register as

  • Hun Sen warns Irish MP of EBA ‘mistake’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday told former Irish premier Enda Kenny, still a member of the EU nation’s parliament, that the 28-nation bloc should not make a “third mistake” regarding Cambodia by using the preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement to “take 16 million

  • The hairy little heroes saving many lives in rural Cambodia

    IN RURAL Siem Reap province, rats dare to tread where no person will, as these hairy little heroes place their lives on the line each day for the good of the local community. The rodents are the most important members of a special team, leading

  • PM warns EU and opposition on 34th anniversary of his rule

    HUN Sen reached the milestone of 34 years as Cambodian prime minister on Monday and used the groundbreaking ceremony for a new ring road around Phnom Penh to tell the international community that putting sanctions on the Kingdom meant killing the opposition. “Please don’t forget