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‘Family crimes hardest to stop’

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A woman’s body was found charred beyond recognition in the capital’s Chroy Changvar district last week. phnom Penh MUNICIPAL military police

‘Family crimes hardest to stop’

A senior National Police official said on Monday that domestic violence and its related murder is the most difficult crime to tackle although competent authorities have good measures in place.

Deputy National Police chief and spokesman Chhay Kim Khoeun said a decline in personal morality plays a big part in the family homicide. He said some family members are also influenced by what they see on TV and films.

Kim Khoeun raised the issue following numerous reports of gruesome murders of family members, including the burning of bodies to destroy evidence.

“We have effectively dealt with many security problems, but violence and murder in the family are very hard to tackle. I’d say the perpetrators lack proper education. We can’t blame society because it’s quite civilised now. The problem lies with individual attitudes."

“Violence and brutal scenes they see in movies and TV could also influence their behaviour. Some films educate people, but some contain murder scenes in which bodies are thrown away or disposed of through other means in order to distract police or make their investigation difficult. This is not unusual but the practice is new in Cambodia,” he said.

Venerable Kou Sopheap, a professor at Pannasastra University of Cambodia, agreed that education plays a big role in dictating one’s behaviour.

“To make anger subside, one needs to learn to manage it. They can learn to control themselves by reading texts or books related to mental education, associating themselves with well-mannered people and coming to terms with the fact that they cannot achieve everything their heart desires. They need to learn to forgive,” he said.

Rights group Adhoc spokesman Soeung Sen Karuna said a decline in standards of morality coupled with violence-sowing culture contributed to the problems of family violence and murder.

“It comes from each family and society which fails to instil moral education into the public. Compounding the problem is the failure to widely publicise crime-related law. I think both state and private media need to boost public awareness of the law on a daily or weekly basis,” he said.

Murder cases stemming from family disputes, he said, had occurred in all forms, with a husband killing his wife and vice-versa or a friend killing a friend over unpaid debts.

In one instance in Kratie province on June 26, a 23-year-old victim was killed and set on fire in a rubber plantation in the vicinity of Snuol district’s Sre Cha commune.

Snuol district deputy police chief Chan Sokhim told The Post on Monday that the authorities were working to identity the suspect.

“His family said the young victim was known to be a drug user in the village,” he said, declining to provide further details.

In a separate case on June 29, sand-dredging workers in the capital’s Chroy Changvar district spotted a woman’s body that was set on fire at Bak Kheng commune’s Bak Kheng village.

The body was charred beyond recognition, according to the Facebook page of the Phnom Penh Municipal Military Police on Monday.

Based on the result of an autopsy, the authorities concluded that the eight-week pregnant victim was strangled to death before she was stuffed in a case to destroy evidence, the Municipal Military Police said.

Chroy Chongvar district police chief Siem Sothavuth declined to comment on Monday.